Coinbase opts to go public with direct listing and a rumored share target of $200

January 28, 2021, 7:30 PM UTC

The cryptocurrency giant Coinbase, which announced plans to go public in December, intends to sell its shares by means of a direct listing, according to an internal company memo seen by Fortune.

“We believe a direct listing more closely follows the ethos of crypto and Coinbase because it democratizes access and opportunities for all investors,” wrote CFO Alesia Haas in the memo sent to employees. The company also wrote a blog post announcing the decision.

A direct listing means a company forgoes the traditional process of relying on investment banks to set the price and line up for buyers for their shares. The process, which has been employed by the likes of Spotify and Slack, has grown in popularity in part because it means firms can forgo bankers’ fees and avoids letting deep-pocketed early buyers from profiting on opening day price “pops.”

The upcoming Coinbase IPO is regarded as a milestone by many in the cryptocurrency world, who believe it will help confer legitimacy on an industry long regarded with distrust by regulators and many traditional investors. It also marks another step in the growing convergence of crypto and conventional finance.

News of Coinbase’s decision to pursue a direct listing comes days after the company said it would launch a secondary market allowing employees and others a forum to sell private shares. Such a step is also viewed as a means for companies to engage in price discovery—getting a sense of what the public will pay for shares.

According to Frank Chaparro, a well-sourced crypto reporter with The Block, shares on that market have been selling in the range of $200 and result of a valuation of around $50 billion.

There has been speculation in recent weeks that Coinbase, aided by a white hot market for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, could be valued as high as $75 billion. The last time Coinbase publicly disclosed its valuation was following a Series E funding round in 2018 that priced the company at $8 billion.

Coinbase’s IPO date is expected to occur in late February or early March. The event is also expected to be significant because the price for Coinbase is likely to inform to value of numerous other cryptocurrency companies.

Read More

CryptocurrencyInvestingBanksReal Estate