Coinbase Inc said on Thursday it had confidentially applied with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to go public in a move that would make it the first major US cryptocurrency exchange to list on the stock market.
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Coinbase’s announcement comes as Bitcoin hit a record high on Thursday, just a day after passing the $20,000 milestone for the first time, amid surging interest from larger investors.
Reuters reported in July that Coinbase started plans for a stock-market listing and was exploring going public via a direct listing instead of a traditional initial public offering (IPO).
A direct listing lets insiders sell instantly and without the support of traditional underwriters - a recipe for potentially high volatility in early trading.
Coinbase did not specify in its statement whether it would pursue an IPO or a direct listing.
If the SEC approves Coinbase’s listing plans, it would represent a landmark victory for cryptocurrency advocates vying for mainstream endorsement.
Many cryptocurrencies have struggled to win the trust of mainstream investors and the general public due to their speculative nature and potential for money laundering.
Founded in 2012, Coinbase is one of the most well-known cryptocurrency platforms globally and has more than 35 million users in more than 100 countries.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Brian Armstrong, in September offered a severance package to employees unwilling to cope with the cryptocurrency exchange’s new policy of not entertaining discussions on societal and political issues.