Coinbase, the popular cryptocurrency exchange, currently values itself at $8 billion, as revealed by its recent acquisition of bitcoin startup Earn.com. Initially reported by Recode, Coinbase offered an equity package to Earn.com investors that valued its stock at $8 billion, a significant bump from the $1.6 billion VC valuation made last summer.
The Earn.com deal is rumored to have been in the ballpark of $100 million, and sources close to the deal have confirmed that the valuation of the Coinbase stock options was near the reported $8 billion. While Earn’s investors ultimately settled on receiving cash, members of its management team, including former CEO and now Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, received stock packages. The recent valuation is based on the company’s common stock, whereas the previous venture rounds were preferred valuations. Preferred stock is commonly used when referring to a company’s value, and insiders have also shared that brokers have approached Coinbase investors to buy existing shares at a valuation of $4.5 to $6 billion.
Coinbase’s final valuation following the deal will be solidified once it completes a 409a valuation, which is a formal report that details the value of a company’s common stock. This is commonly used to properly value employee stock option packages and is typically conducted by a third-party reporting firm.
The lofty valuation is likely due to the recent surge in crypto investor interest, which ultimately drove Coinbase’s revenue to over $1 billion in 2017. However, competition is beginning to move in, which could potentially threaten Coinbase’s stranglehold on the fiat-based exchange market. Most recently, Revolut, an England-based digital banking startup with a crypto trading app, added Bitcoin Cash and Ripple to its trading platform. While not yet available in the United States, Revolut plans to move into North America in the near future. Revolut recently became a unicorn, raising a $250 million Series C at a $1.7 billion valuation.
Coinbase will need to continue innovating while maintaining a healthy M&A schedule to continue to build on this latest valuation. The company will likely begin to leverage its new venture capital arm, Coinbase Ventures, to further build out its product pipeline.