Running a major cryptocurrency exchange can be a logistical nightmare, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. In information released to shareholders this week, Coinbase revealed that it recorded turnover of $1 billion last year, which works out at an astonishing $2.74 million a day or $2,000 a minute.
As America’s largest bitcoin broker, Coinbase claims the lion’s share of the money that’s pouring into the crypto space at a dizzying rate. 2017 was a bumper year for all crypto exchanges, which reported record numbers across the board: new signups, new staff hired, new trading pairs, and new revenue. Those revenue streams have turned into a torrent that has caused Coinbase’ coffers to swell.
Recode reports that the company’s revenue exceeded $1 billion last year, most of it derived from the trading fees it levies. These vary from between 0.25% and 1%. and quickly add up: in the past 24 hours, 36,000 BTC were traded on Coinbase, accounting for more than 15% of the total market. Coinbase isn’t the world’s largest exchange (and is technically a broker rather than a conventional exchange – that duty falls to its GDAX subsidiary) but it’s the best known and carries great weight in the cryptocurrency industry.
Coinbase Shares Are Hot Property
It’s not just cryptocurrency that’s in demand from Coinbase: investors are also seeking shares in the company itself. A number of existing investors report having fielded enquiries from buyers interested in snapping up their shares. There’s just one problem: Coinbase is doing everything in its power to prevent that from happening.
“As a private company, Coinbase does not allow trading of stock on secondary markets for a variety of reasons, including the fact that there is not full and equal information available to the market,” read a company statement. “We will take appropriate action if we find people have sold Coinbase shares in violation of our agreements not to do so.”
The company is widely expected to launch an IPO at some stage. Traditionally, these public offerings are prefaced by a VC round for accredited investors. But having raised $100 million last year, and then seen record turnover of $2.74 million a day, Coinbase isn’t exactly strapped for cash. As a result, investors are scrambling to engage in secondary trades in a bid to claim a piece of the pie while they still can. With over 13 million customers bringing in more than a billion dollars a year, Coinbase would appear to have no need for private equity, no matter how eager investors are to part with it.