Nasdaq Sets Coinbase Reference Price at $250, Pre-IPO COIN Trading 132% Higher on FTX

“Crypto is just getting started,” says the co-founder. Ahead of this highly-anticipated direct listing, which won’t raise any new capital and has no lock-up period for existing investors, Coinbase gifted over 1,700 of its employees 100 shares each as a way of gratitude.

Nasdaq has set a reference price of $250 per share on Tuesday for cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s direct listing under the ticker “COIN” on Wednesday. At this rate, Coinbase gets a valuation of nearly $50 billion.

However, this reference price is not an offering price for investors to purchase shares rather a benchmark for performance when the stock starts trading.

Still, the reference price is below the almost $345 volume-weighted average price the shares were trading at privately in the first quarter of the year.

The pre-IPO contract for Coinbase on rival crypto exchange FTX is currently trading at $580, down from $620 earlier in the day, putting the exchange’s valuation at about $150 billion, the largest in the history.

This would value Coinbase about 17 times more than the $8 billion the company was worth in its last private fundraising round in 2018. By comparison, NYSE’s parent company, ICE, has a market cap of around $66 billion.

On Wednesday, the reference price will be determined by buy and sell orders collected by the Nasdaq from broker-dealers.

“Crypto is Just Getting Started”

Instead of a traditional public offering (IPO), Coinbase has opted to go public through a direct listing which means the company won’t raise any money. A less common option to go public has been previously chosen by Spotify in 2018, Slack in 2019, and Roblox in 2021.

The direct listing route also means there is no lock-up restriction on the existing investors, and they are free to sell their shares whenever they like.

Ahead of this highly anticipated listing, Coinbase gifted more than 1,700 of its employees 100 shares each as a way of gratitude. It means a $25,000 to $62,000 bump in their paper wealth. These shares were gifted to the employees late in March.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase reported explosive financial returns for Q1 of 2020, and ahead of its listing, the crypto market is flying with both Bitcoin and Ether making new all-time highs at nearly $65,000 and $2,400, respectively. BTC -2.48% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 23,487.63
Volume 24.66 b Change -$582.49 Open $23,487.63 Circulating 19.12 m Market Cap 449.01 b
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ETH -1.76% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 1,738.33
Volume 15.92 b Change -$30.59 Open $1,738.33 Circulating 121.89 m Market Cap 211.89 b
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“Crypto is just getting started. We are ~1% into the most important technology of the coming decades. Crypto will redefine money and information, the two fundamental ways the world coordinates,” wrote Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam on Twitter today.

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