Coinbase takes to Reddit

March 18, 2021, 2:55 PM UTC

Reddit is the center of the memestock craze: Users on its infamous r/wallstreetbets subreddit drove up shares in stocks including GameStop in a show of buying power among retail traders.

Now, cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase is taking its roadshow to the social media site. On Thursday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong began an “ask me anything” session on Reddit ahead of the startup’s direct listing on the Nasdaq

“As some of you may know, we’re planning a public listing soon and as part of that process, we’ll be spending a lot of time educating large, institutional investors about Coinbase and crypto in general. This is the standard process, but it didn’t feel right to me,” he wrote. “We want a process where all investors, regardless of affiliation or size, have equal access to information and have the opportunity to engage with us.”

It’s no typical move, even in the fairly new realm of direct listings (a method of going public that currently raises no additional funding for the company, but leads to a fairer first-day trading price, according to proponents). Spotify and Slack, to my recollection, didn’t take to Reddit or another social media platform in their direct listings. Armstrong’s message is on brand for a movement focused on decentralizing power from the incumbent banking institutions—though Coinbase itself is actually considered a centralized exchange

The exchange says it was last valued at $68 billion this year—more than the valuation of the Nasdaq ($24 billion) and the parent of the New York Stock Exchange, the Intercontinental Exchange ($63 billion).

Coinbase closes the AMA at 7 P.M. PDT on Friday and has yet to answer questions, but its decision could certainly stand for a new way of going public. And we’ll see how fully the team responds: They can pick and choose which questions to answer, after all.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


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