Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and early investors have sold COIN shares worth roughly $5 billion on the opening day of trading.
Coinbase had a fairly good performance after its direct listing, settling at over 30% from its reference price of $250. The direct listing coincided with a rise in Bitcoin’s price, though the stock itself has remained stable. It’s selling at the price of $344 at the time of publishing.
Armstrong himself sold about $291.8 million in shares. The information is publicly available on the US SEC website.
Armstrong sold 749,999 shares in three sessions when COIN was trading between $381 and $410. That equates to about 1.5% of his stake in the company. Coinbase director Fred Wilson sold 4.7 million in shares for a total of $1.8 billion. Fellow director Marc Andreessen sold 1.18 million shares in conjunction with Andreessen Horowitz and two related entities.
While some may see the selling as a negative development, it might not be as bad as it seems. Selling these shares to the public is a way to increase liquidity. The total sum sold by all holders amounts to just under $5 billion.
The ARK investment group has purchased an additional $68 million of COIN shares, after initially buying $246 million worth of shares on the day of the listing. Investors are generally optimistic about Coinbase’s potential performance, as the crypto market has just begun to hit mainstream appeal.
More retail investors have flooded the market, partly because of the increasing legitimacy and acceptance of the asset class. The Coinbase listing and the arrival of numerous institutional products have convinced hesitant investors to invest. This has, in turn, increased the bottom price and has sparked a knock-on effect that has reached the public.
All eyes still on Coinbase
Coinbase’s direct listing continues to be the talk of the town, though the mania has died down slightly. Analysts have hailed it as a landmark moment for the market, and the crypto community also appears generally happy with the mainstream exposure it brings.
All of this despite the tumultuous 12 months that preceded the listing. The exchange battled allegations of racism, flak for political indifference, and platform issues. None of this affected the exchange very much in the long run, and it is being keenly observed by major investors.
The San Francisco-based exchange is focused on generating revenue via multiple streams in the medium to long term future. Armstrong himself, in a CNBC interview, spoke of plans to leverage other products to generate more predictable income.