The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said Thursday that it would begin trading on April 14 after receiving a direct clearance from the Securities and Exchange Commission for its regulatory listing. The company, ranked No 10 on the 2018 list of CNBC Disruptor 50, published a short blog post announcing the approval of the SEC. While companies like Roblox, Spotify, Slack and Palantir previously went public through direct listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange, Coinbase will be the first major direct listing of NQS. The company has announced that it plans to trade nearly 115 million shares of class A stock, which will register under the ticker symbol COIN. In a direct listing, the issuing company forgoes selling new stock and instead allows existing shareholders to sell their shares to new investors. The green light from the SEC marks a milestone for cryptocurrency advocates who have piled into blockchain-related assets like bitcoin.
Only recently have many institutional banks and traditional investors accepted cryptocurrency, previously deemed too speculative and volatile. With Bitcoin up by about 800% in the last year and an ecosystem of infrastructure companies and trading platforms circling it, Coinbase has soared as a proxy for the wider crypto-economy. Coinbase listed bitcoin as one of its risk factors in its prospectus as potential price declines. The company claims to have more than 43 million users trading digital assets in more than 100 countries. Last month, an updated filing revealed that Coinbase has reached an implied$ 68 billion private market valuation based on an average share price of$ 343.58. While the private market value is less indicative of the company's share worth, the Nasdaq will use this information to set a reference price before the direct listing by Coinbase.