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Coinbase Should Gone Public Via ETH, Says First Employee

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Coinbase Should Gone Public Via ETH, Says First Employee

Olaf Carlson-Wee, the first hire of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, said that the shares of Coinbase would be worth more today had the company chosen a crypto-native way of going public.

“I think that if Coinbase would have gone public on Coinbase,” he said,“[it] would be valued at over double what it is.” Instead, Coinbase went public on April 14 with a direct listing on the Nasdaq.

Carlson-Wee, now CEO and founder of San Francisco-based venture capital firm Polychain Capital, elaborated during the conversation with Decrypt executive editor Jeff Roberts at this year’s virtual Ethereal summit.

By “going public on Coinbase,” Carlson-Wee had in mind a USDC-style model, through which the company shares would be represented as ERC-20 tokens, allowing for trading via “the wild and wonderful world” of decentralized finance (DeFi).

Polychain’s Olaf Carlson-Wee: ‘DAOs are the Second Big Breakthrough’

But Coinbase’s way of going public was hardly mainstream: it chose a direct listing on the Nasdaq instead of the more common route of an initial public offering (IPO). Direct listings are less cumbersome than IPOs as they require less paperwork, and they’re also cheaper.

Coinbase did not create new shares, as would be the case in an IPO, but instead offered up 115 million existing shares.

At launch, the exchange was rumored to be worth $100 billion, with shares expected to trade for $375 each, but some analysts found that to be off the mark.

7 Lessons From Coinbase’s Public Listing

Coinbase debuted on Nasdaq at $381 per share, then briefly peaked at $424 before plummeting to $310. It ended its first day at $328 per share—still 31% higher than its reference price.

Since then, the shares have continuously dropped in value. A single Coinbase share trades for $263.

The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.


All content in this article is for informational purposes only and in no way serves as investment advice. Investing in cryptocurrencies, commodities and stocks is very risky and can lead to capital losses.

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