CNBC Disruptor 50

Coinbase plans to go public through a direct listing, following Spotify, Slack and Palantir

Key Points
  • Coinbase said Thursday that it will go public via direct listing rather than through a traditional IPO.
  • It's following companies such as Spotify, Slack and Palantir, choosing to let existing investors sell into the open market rather than raising fresh capital.
  • The company announced its initial plans to go public last month.
The Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange application seen on the screen of an iPhone.
Getty Images

Digital currency exchange Coinbase announced Thursday that it's seeking to go public through a direct listing, skirting the traditional IPO route.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase has grown to become the largest digital currency exchange in the U.S., and is hitting the public market amid renewed investor interest in cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is trading over $32,000, up over 260% in the past year.

Coinbase is jumping on the trend of companies choosing direct listings rather than IPOs to avoid diluting their existing shareholders and handing over cheap stock to new investors. Spotify was the first significant tech company to go that route, in 2018. Since then, Slack, Palantir and Asana have followed, and game company Roblox expects to pursue a direct listing next month.

Coinbase announced its original intent to go public in mid-December.

Coinbase is losing about 5 percent of its workforce after CEO's stance on politics in the office