Thursday 9 July 2020 3:23 pm

Crypto exchange Coinbase aims for Wall Street listing

Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, is said to be preparing to publicly list its shares in New York.

The listing could come as early as this year, sources told Reuters.

Should its application be approved by US regulators, Coinbase would be the first major US cryptocurrency exchange to go public.

It would also mark a significant step forward for those advocating for cryptocurrencies to be recognised as securities by officials.

Read more: Coinbase becomes first crypto platform to receive Visa principal member status

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said some coins may be recognised as securities, but most cryptocurrencies remain unregulated.

Global guidance on the cryptoassets sector remains vague, despite the sustained popularity of coins as tools for investing. Many remain concerned about the potential for money laundering, as well as price volatility.

A source told Reuters that Coinbase, which was valued at more than $8bn in a private fundraising round in 2018, is exploring going public via a direct listing instead of a traditional initial public offering (IPO).

Direct listings have become a more popular choice for tech firms considering going public in recent years, following the difficult debuts of Uber and Wework on Wall Street.

Read more: Peter Thiel’s Palantir confidentially files to go public

In a direct listing, a company does not sell new shares and existing investors are not bound by restrictions on when they can sell off their holdings following the market debut

Founded in 2012, Coinbase has more than 35m users who trade in various coins such as bitcoin, ethereum and XRP.

Previous investors who could stand to gain from a listing by Coinbase include the New York Stock Exchange, BBVA and former Citigroup chief executive Vikram Pandit.

A Coinbase spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.