Coinbase and its historic stock market debut on the Nasdaq.

Coinbase’s historic stock market debut

Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange, made history, being the first major crypto company to go public with its stock market debut on the 14th of April. The listing shows growth in a once niche industry and indicates acceptance of cryptocurrencies into mainstream business. It also allows investors to get exposed to the crypto industry without actually owning cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.

In this article, we discuss Coinbase and its monumental stock market listing.

About Coinbase

Founded in 2012, Coinbase is a US-based online platform that allows users to buy, sell, transfer and store digital currencies. Including some of the more well-known cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, Coinbase offers around fifty types of crypto assets. Users can even send cryptocurrencies to each other or pay at any merchant that accepts Visa with a Coinbase Card.

The company serves 56 million users globally and breaks its clientele down into three categories: retail users, institutional investors and ecosystem partners. Out of these, the majority are retail users.

Similar to other platforms, the company makes a majority of its revenue from transaction fees on trades. Coinbase announced that in the first quarter of 2021, total revenue was approximately $1.8 billion, and net income was more than double what it was in all of 2020, between $730 and $800 million.

Direct listing versus an IPO

There are several differences between going public through a direct listing and an initial public offering (IPO).

With IPOs, companies that want to go public will hire underwriters that help them through the listing process. This includes assisting in pricing the shares for the initial offer, helping with regulatory requirements, buying the shares from the company and selling them to investors. In return, the company pays the underwriter a fee, typically a percentage per share. In contrast, there are no underwriters involved with a direct listing, and therefore, it is usually cheaper than an IPO.

Another difference is regarding the shares offered. With an IPO, a company issues new shares of the company, typically to raise capital. On the other hand, with a direct listing, a company issues stock that already exists, and employees or investors already holding shares can directly sell them to the public. In this case, a company does not wish to raise capital, and existing shareholders can immediately trade their stocks as a lockup period is not applicable.

Coinbase joins the Nasdaq

As mentioned, Coinbase started trading on the 14th of April on the Nasdaq, fittingly under the ticker COIN. Since it was a direct listing, shares were not officially priced before they start trading. However, with direct listings, reference prices are set to help investors get an idea of a company’s value. On the 13th of April, the Nasdaq set a reference price of $250 per share.

On its first day of trading, Coinbase had an opening price of $381. Prices climbed as high as $429.54 but ended the day at $328.28, 14% less than the opening price. The $328.28 closing price gave the company a value of around $86 billion.

Investing with DEGIRO

We want to make investing accessible to everyone by offering incredibly low fees. For details, please visit our Fees page.

On top of low fees, we offer you access to one of the largest universes of products and exchanges. This can help you influence your risk by building a well-diversified portfolio and spreading your investments over different types, regions and sectors. For an overview of the products and exchanges we offer, please visit our Markets page.

Open an account

The information in this article is not written for advisory purposes, nor does it intend to recommend any investments. Please be aware that facts may have changed since the article was originally written. Investing involves risks. You can lose (a part of) your deposit. We advise you to only invest in financial products that match your knowledge and experience.

Sources: Bloomberg, Investopedia, Barron’s, MarketWatch, Motley Fool, Coinbase, New York Times


Get started with investing in 10 lessons

Investor's academy academy

Start investing today

Open a free account invest

Your investment journey starts here

Open a free account and join over 2.5 million investors worldwide on our user-friendly platform.

Investing involves risks. You can lose your invested funds. We advise you to only invest in financial products which match your knowledge and experience. This is not investment advice.

Investing places your capital at risk. Read our full warning here.


We want to empower people to become the best investors they can be. By offering a universe of possibilities and choices on our user-friendly platform, we are removing barriers to make investing accessible to everyone: beginners or experts. You get access to a wide variety of products on more than 50 global exchanges to have the freedom to invest the way you like. In our world, you also get great value for money. So, without compromising an inch on the quality, security and range of our investment services, we offer incredibly low fees. Prioritising your needs has helped us become the leading European online broker. Our 2.5+ million clients and 100+ international awards are proof of our success.

This communication is issued on behalf of flatexDEGIRO Bank AG and has been approved as a financial promotion on 3rd August 2023, for the purposes of section 21 of the Financial Services Market Act 2000 (FSMA), by Resolution Compliance Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN:574048). flatexDEGIRO Bank AG is an overseas firm which is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. This means that the FCA Rules made under FSMA for the protection of retail clients do not apply to the services provided by flatexDEGIRO Bank AG but investors are instead protected under applicable German law and Dutch law rules that apply to flatexDEGIRO Bank AG. Investors are not protected by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

flatexDEGIRO Bank Dutch Branch, a foreign branch of flatexDEGIRO Bank AG | Amstelplein 1, 1096HA Amsterdam | phone: +31 20 261 3072 | e-mail: | flatexDEGIRO Bank Dutch Branch is registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce under number 82510245. | flatexDEGIRO Bank Dutch Branch, trading under the name DEGIRO, is the Dutch branch of flatexDEGIRO Bank AG. flatexDEGIRO Bank AG is an overseas company primarily supervised by the German financial regulator (BaFin). In the Netherlands, flatexDEGIRO Bank Dutch Branch is registered with DNB and supervised by AFM and DNB. | flatexDEGIRO Bank AG is a licensed German bank supervised by the German financial regulator and registered with the German Chamber of Commerce under number HRB 105687.