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Inside Coinbase's San Francisco office. Photo by Bloomberg

The Briefing: Coinbase’s First Quarter Sets Stage for Big Debut

Photo: Inside Coinbase's San Francisco office. Photo by Bloomberg

Next week’s public market debut of cryptocurrency firm Coinbase is shaping up to be a true blockbuster. Coinbase’s first-quarter results today showed numbers any company would dream to use in their going-public pitch deck. For instance, Coinbase produced net profit of between $730 million and $800 million, up from $32 million a year earlier. Revenue hit $1.8 billion, nearly 10 times the year-earlier period. The number of people buying or selling in a month more than doubled from last year. Shall we go on?

Yes, Coinbase is a great way for investors to get exposure to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, making it an appealing bet right now. But it also guarantees that Coinbase will be a hugely volatile stock, even measured against today’s intensely volatile trading patterns. As long as trading in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin stays strong, all will be well. But once we enter a downturn, all bets are off. As Coinbase says in the public listing filing a few weeks ago, “Trading volume is directly correlated with transaction revenue and influenced by both Bitcoin price and crypto asset volatility.”

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