Coinbase President on Rumored IPO and Plans to Add Support for 200–300 Cryptocurrencies ‘Over the Next Year or So’

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Earlier today (31 October 2018), Asiff Hirji, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase said in an interview on Bloomberg TV that his company was not planning to raise additional funding via an initial public offering (IPO) "any time soon." He also explained how Coinbase intended to support 200–300 additional cryptocurrencies "over the next year or so."

On 25 October 2018, the host of CNBC's "Crypto Trader", Ran NeuNer, said on Twitter that he was going to expose Coinbase's plans for an IPO on his show the next day:

Although, as covered here, the Coinbase President announced yesterday via a blog post that the exchange had raised $300 million in its latest funding round (valuing the company at over $8 billion), he said nothing about an upcoming IPO.

In the interview with Bloomberg, Hirji was first asked why Coinbase had decided to take so much capital:

"We were approached by some very high quality investors earlier this year who have a very constructive thesis on crypto, and they wanted to invest in what they thought was the best name in the space. And so when that opportunity presented itself, you take it seriously. And so, we looked at it and even though we didn't need to raise the money, we felt that it was important to Have Tiger [Global Management] and some of the others in this round. We think they can help us build the next phase of the company with us."

He was then asked how some of Coinbase's relatively recent institutional offerings would affect the company's revenue going forward:

"Over time, we would expect each of those businesses to do more than its first share. We would also expect those businesses to diversify our revenue stream. Our revenues are currently 100% transactional. The custody business and the other businesses are more fee-based or AUM-based, and so what you'll see is that will grow as part of our overall revenue, which gives us more stability and predictability to our revenue stream."

Hirji was next asked if we should expect an IPO in 2019:

"There's not going to be an IPO any time soon. We have so much to do. I mean, at some point, yes, we'll go public, but that's not even close to the top of the list of things we're worried about right now."

When asked about Coinbase's now discontinued index fund, he said that they had hoped this product would bring in institutions, but what they discovered was that it was "a much bigger hill to climb in terms of the regulatory requirements to that." So, they decided that it would be "more efficient" to instead offer "Coinbase Bundle" to both consumers and institutions.

However, the most interesting question came near the end of the interview when Hirji was asked what the timing was around support for additional cyptoassets:

"Look, there are somewhere between 2000 and 3000 cryptocurrencies out there. Let's assume that 90% of them are garbage. That still means that 10%, there's somewhere between 200 and 300, that are legitimately worth investing in... We offer seven... And so, you should expect us to go from seven to that total number that we think is worth it over the next year or so... We're going to add them geography by geography, because the U.S. frankly has not kept pace with where regulation is throughout the world. So, somethings will be offered in the U.S., but more things will probably be offered outside the U.S."


Featured Image Courtesy of Coinbase