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Coinbase is giving employees some serious COIN as it goes public

April 14, 2021, 3:17 PM UTC

It’s a good day to be a Coinbase employee.

As the cryptocurrency exchange prepares for its public offering Wednesday, it has given 100 shares each to more than 1,700 workers to express appreciation for their work in getting the company to its direct offerings.

That’s working out to a windfall for those employees. Coinbase was set, initially, to open at $250 per share, but by 10:30 am ET, the opening price indicator had jumped to $342.

The marketplace’s public debut is one of the most anticipated listings of 2021. Some estimate it could have a valuation as high as $100 billion, though the company is taking a more conservative approach, valuing it closer to $65 billion.

Coinbase decided against a traditional IPO, opting instead for a direct listing, an increasingly popular option among unicorns. The company won’t issue new shares or raise new capital. Instead it’s opening up shares directly to the public, sidestepping an underwriter.

Demand for the stock is already high, with some traders telling CNBC they would set buy order prices above $400 well before shares began trading.

The surge of interest in Coinbase is also driving up the price of cryptocurrencies Wednesday. Bitcoin hit an all-time high today of $64,829. So did Ethereum. And even Dogecoin, the sarcastic currency that’s meant to always get cheaper, hit an all-time high earlier today.

Coinbase will start trading on the Nasdaq marketplace soon under the ticker “COIN.”