San Francisco-based crypto exchange Coinbase today took another step toward going public by posting its S-1 filing ahead of its direct listing. It what appears to be token gesture, the company also sent its filing to Bitcoin's pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Coinbase’s S-1 Filing is a necessary precursor to its direct listing—kind of like a more straightforward IPO that lets companies list their stock directly on the stock market, sidestepping the need for underwriters to determine the stock’s opening price.
Coinbase sent copies of the filing to its legal team and Nakamoto himself. While others were listed next to addresses and phone numbers, Nakamoto was identified only by his Bitcoin address: “1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa.”
Nakamoto used to be a prolific poster on bitcointalk.org, a forum he set up to discuss the project. But he stopped posting on there on December 13, 2010, and nobody’s heard from him/her/them since. Brian Armstrong founded Coinbase a year and a half later, on June 20, 2012.
While Nakamoto is nowhere to be found, the filing noted that a grand reveal of his personality could adversely affect the crypto market, as could the transfer of Satoshi’s Bitcoins. This is because Bitcoin derives part of its success from decentralization; if Nakamoto turned out to be of undesirable temperament, Bitcoin’s reputation.
Lots of people claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
The main person still driving home that narrative is Dr. Craig Wright, the Australian computer scientist who spearheaded Bitcoin “Satoshi’s Vision,” a spinoff designed to fulfil Satoshi’s dreams (i.e. Wright’s dreams, if Wright is to be believed). Wright’s claims are widely refuted; courts said that he lied and plagiarized documents.
Crypto exchange OKCoin, headquartered in the same city as Coinbase, last week announced that it would delist Bitcoin SV because of Wright’s detrimental impact on the Bitcoin community.
As part of the filing, Coinbase disclosed profits of $322 million last year. The filing also mentioned a balance sheet of $230 million in Bitcoin and a further $53 million in Ethereum. In addition, Coinbase holds $48.9 million of its own US dollar-pegged stablecoin, USDC, and $34 million in other cryptocurrencies.
Coinbase has benefited from Bitcoin’s boom—indeed, that may pump its share price when it launches on the stock market. Bitcoin is up tenfold since the middle of March 2020, and five-fold since the start of October 2020, the month in which Bitcoin’s bull run began in earnest.