Brian Armstrong, co-founder and chief executive officer of Coinbase Inc.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Coinbase isn’t just enabling the trading of a bunch of bitcoin – it’s holding cryptocurrencies on its books.
In the company’s prospectus for public market investors filed on Thursday, Coinbase disclosed ownership of $316.1 million worth of crypto assets on its balance sheet as of Dec. 31, up ninefold from $33.9 million at the end of 2019.
Bitcoin surged in value by over 300% last year, while the digital currency ethereum jumped close to 500%, and they’ve both extended their rally to start 2021. While Coinbase makes most of its money by allowing investors to trade, store and borrow crypto assets, the company is also placing its own bets on the trajectory for the top digital currencies.
“Since our founding in 2012, Coinbase has held bitcoin and other crypto assets on our balance sheet — and we plan to maintain an investment in crypto assets as we believe strongly in the long-term potential of the cryptoeconomy,” Brett Tejpaul, Coinbase’s head of institutional coverage, wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “Investing in crypto assets required us to develop new investment, accounting, and tax policies, as well as ensure we established a control environment for purposes of receiving unqualified audit opinions on our financial statements.”