Coinbase Global, the biggest U.S.-based cryptocurrency brokerage, announced Thursday that it has confidentially submitted a S-1 form for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The form would become effective after the SEC completes its review process, Coinbase said in a blog posting. The news came as bitcoin climbed to yet another record high Thursday, surpassing $23,600.
Coinbase, recently valued at around $8 billion, would become the largest publicly-traded crypto currency company in the world, according to The Wall Street Journal.
On Wednesday, Coinbase named Marc Andreessen, co-founder of venture capital titan Andreessen Horowitz, and Kelly Kramer, recently-retired CFO of Cisco Systems (CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report, to its board of directors.
Reuters reported in July that Coinbase was considering a direct listing. To be sure, its users suffered delays Wednesday, as bitcoin smashed through $20,000. The digital currency recently traded at $23,227.52, down 0.59%. It has doubled in just the past three months.
But there are some caution signs. The digital currency is still not widely used in legitimate commerce and is implicated in many illicit transactions such as drug money laundering and ransomware attacks. Its main legitimate strength remains as a store of a value. But it’s only a store value because buyers view it that way.
Given that bitcoin can’t be used to buy many legal products that have much value, its intrinsic worth is simply what people are willing to pay for it. But if investors and speculators lose faith, the digital currency can easily plunge, as it did in February and March of this year and from December 2017 to December 2018.