Iris Energy Bitcoin Mining Firm Files for Direct Listing on US Nasdaq

Iris Energy Bitcoin mining company, headquartered in Australia, has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a direct listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange for this year.

The Sydney-based firm launched by former Macquarie bankers brothers Will and Daniel Roberts expects the debut to happen in the fourth quarter of 2021, the filing with the SEC states.

However, such timing is the only provision as the planned listing is subject to regulatory reviews, including market and other conditions.

Iris’s latest plan comes amid recent reports revealing that the mining company had considered going public via a SPAC deal. In May, the firm weighed options for special purpose acquisition companies and approached many blank-check companies for the deal. The firm also raised $50 million to finance the expansion of its mining equipment.  

However, Iris shifted away from such plans and raised adequate funds before submitting a draft proposal for a direct listing on Nasdaq. Last month, the firm raised $200 million in a private funding round to prepare for a potential US listing.

Iris’s business model involves setting up its computer firepower in energy markets with a surplus of renewable energy.

Iris uses renewable energy to conduct its Bitcoin mining operations. The crypto firm has a mining facility in British Columbia, Canada, with 9 megawatts (MW) operational mining capacity. In its latest ongoing plan, Iris wants to scale its operational mining capacity to 30 megawatts (MW) this year.

Looking for Listing on US Exchanges

If the plan goes well, then Iris will be listed on the US public stock market.  

Meanwhile, Iris has joined the list of crypto mining companies seeking to go public in the US. Several Bitcoin mining firms seek to go public overseas, and the US stock exchanges appear to be warming to these miners.

Quite a several crypto-related firms are planning to sell shares, thus giving investors a new way to bet on digital currencies. Some have already raised billions of dollars to facilitate such plans.

In June, three major Canadian crypto mining companies were approved for listing their shares on the Nasdaq.

Such new listings from international exchanges come about a year after major Chinese crypto firms were approved for listing in Nasdaq, including China’s Ebang crypto miner, which started trading on the Nasdaq in June 2020.

Canada’s crypto miner Bitfarms Limited started trading on Nasdaq on June 21st 2021. During the same month, another Canadian cryptocurrency mining firm, HIVE Blockchain Technologies, obtained approval from Nasdaq to list its shares on the popular exchange.

Canada’s crypto miner Hut 8 Mining also received approvals to list on the Nasdaq in June this year.

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Kraken Reconsidering IPO

Does Coinbase’s mild direct listing performance have emerging crypto platforms thinking twice about going public? The latest comments from major cryptocurrency exchange Kraken might be suggesting so.

In an interview with CNBC earlier this year, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell shared that the company was considering going public via a direct listing in 2022. Coinbase went public less than a month later, and now just a few months after the Wall Street debut, Powell and company may be having second thoughts.

The IPO… I Don’t Know

Kraken is a top 3 exchange when ranked by volume, and continues to grow. However, Kraken’s future when it comes to a public listing is still a question mark. In a recent appearance on Fortune’s video series “Balancing The Ledger”, Powell stated that the firm was taking a harder look at going public, especially when it comes to a direct listing.

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“An IPO is looking a little more attractive in light of the direct listing’s performance”, said Powell. “I would say we’re looking at it more seriously now having the benefit of seeing how the direct public offering played out for Coinbase”.

Related Reading | Cardano: Kraken Launches ADA Staking, $2 Next Price Target?

Coinbase Struggling Since Direct Listing

In just a few short months, Coinbase has seen it’s initial valuation cut by roughly a third, going public at over $68B, to a present day valuation just shy of $48B. The company is nearly ten years deep in operations, and undoubtedly still feeling strong about it’s long-term successes. Additionally, the company is paving the way for other crypto-focused businesses to follow suit. However, the direct listing approach for the firm appears to leaving investors wary, and to Powell’s point, has likely been a “watch and learn” experience for some of the biggest public-facing crypto firms considering going public.

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Since going public via direct listing in April, it's been a steady slide for Coinbase. | Source: $COIN-NASDAQ on

Can Kraken Crack The Code?

Despite the struggles seen from Coinbase shares, bolstered by a less than stellar earnings report debut, CEO Brian Armstrong saw the direct listing route as appropriate. Armstrong told CNBC in April that a direct listing was “more true to the ethos of crypto”.

Kraken’s Powell doesn’t quite see it the same way. “I think [Wall Street] is so tied up in the legacy way of doing things”, Powell said in his recent appearance. Nonetheless, Powell didn’t commit one way or another when it came to direct listing vs. IPO – but he did rule out one ‘hot’ public route: SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies. SPACs have been an increasing topic and rumor-mill for emerging companies, such as crypto start-up Circle.

It remains to be seen what approach Kraken and other emerging crypto firms will take, but rest assured that they are paying close attention to the market forces at work.

Related Reading | Coinbase Banks On Dogecoin Listing To Revive Stuttering Fortunes

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Coinbase Hits $103B Valuation in Landmark Public Listing

Key Takeaways

  • Coinbase’s COIN shares have gone live on Nasdaq.
  • COIN is trading at $395, putting the company’s valuation at $103 billion.
  • The event has been widely celebrated as a groundbreaking moment for the cryptocurrency space.

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Coinbase makes history as the first cryptocurrency company to go public. 

Coinbase Goes Public in First for Crypto 

Coinbase is now live on NASDAQ. 

COIN shares were trading at $395 on market open Wednesday, up from the initial $250 reference price NASDAQ set yesterday. 

Coinbase filed 261.3 million Common Stock shares to the SEC this week, which puts the company’s valuation at around 103 billion. 

Coinbase is the first major cryptocurrency company to go public. The event has been described as a watershed moment for the industry as crypto continues to pervade the mainstream. Earlier this year, Bitcoin hit a $1 trillion market cap amid growing interest in digital currencies. “Today is a big milestone for Coinbase and an even bigger milestone for crypto,” the company wrote on Twitter. 

The company also left a timestamp in the Bitcoin blockchain via f2pool to mark the event. The text featured a headline from today’s The New York Times, similar to the one Satoshi Nakamoto imprinted into the Genesis block.

Coinbase was founded in 2012 and became known for catering to the retail investor market. It earns revenue from charging fees to buy and trade digital currencies, making most from Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

In recent years, though, it’s also become a hub for institutional investors as the crypto movement snowballs. It offers a custodial service aimed at high net worth individuals and has assisted MicroStrategy and other companies in buying significant volumes of Bitcoin. 

Ahead of the public listing, it was revealed that Coinbase had generated $1.8 billion of revenue in the first quarter of 2021-more than it made in the whole of 2020. 

The cryptocurrency exchange, whose headquarters is in San Francisco, opted for a direct listing over an initial public offering. In a direct listing, companies sell shares to the public without using an underwriter or issuing new shares. “I wanted there to be just a true market on day one that set the price,” Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong told CNBC earlier today.”I felt like it was more true to the ethos of crypto.”

In a surprise gift, all 1,700 Coinbase employees were granted 100 shares, worth around $40,000 today. Company executives and investors received a much bigger payout, led by Andreessen Horowitz’s Marc Andressen, who reportedly holds 1.65 million Class A shares of the 261.3 million total. 

The landmark event had been anticipated for months and was widely discussed among crypto’s leading figures in the lead-up. Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase’s co-founder and one of its key architects alongside Armstrong, shared a tweet storm reflecting on the company’s early years, saying that he was “honored to be a small part of this journey which will transform society for the better.”

Binance, meanwhile, listed COIN on its recently launched stock exchange. FTX also listed futures for the stock; they crashed in the lead-up to the listing, possibly due to reports that the indicative price would be $340. 

The crypto market itself has also reacted to the event. Bitcoin and Ethereum surged in the lead-up and have continued rallying today. Bitcoin is trading at $63,300. 

Following Coinbase’s footsteps, long-established exchange Kraken is rumored to go public next. Should crypto continue to draw mainstream interest, Coinbase’s move could be a catalyst for many other companies to go public, and ultimately, wider adoption of cryptocurrencies. 

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this feature owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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Coinbase’s Direct Listing Reference Price Set at $250 per Share by Nasdaq

The Nasdaq US stock market has given Coinbase a reference price of $250 per share ahead of its planned direct listing today on Wednesday, April 14. The valuation puts Coinbase, the largest US crypto exchange, at $49.19 billion – ahead of its historic stock debut today.

The reference price as set by Nasdaq stock market reflects recent private market trades and input from investment bankers (such as Goldman Sachs). However, the reference price does not indicate where the stock price of the crypto exchange will start trading at on the public stock market.

In other words, the reference point is not an offering price that investors will use to purchase shares of the crypto company, but rather it is a benchmark for performance when the Coinbase stock begins trading on the stock market today.  

Coinbase shares are set to begin trading under the “COIN” symbol. Sell and buy orders collected by the Nasdaq from broker-dealers would determine the opening public price of the stock.

The reference point is normally a conservative estimate derived by using public information and market sentiment.

The reference price given by Nasdaq is 27% lower than what Coinbase traded in the private secondary market at $343.58 per share in the first quarter of this year.

If shares of Coinbase trade hands at or above the reference price, then the crypto exchange would be valued at more than six times the $8 billion the firm was worth in its last private fundraising in 2018.

What Coinbase Going Public Means

Late January this year, Coinbase announced plans to go public through a direct listing rather than a traditional Initial Public Offering (IPO). This implies that instead of raising funds by selling new shares to a group of institutional investors, the company would allow existing stakeholders to begin selling immediately at a market-driven price.

Coinbase Global Inc. wants to become the first major crypto exchange to go public in the US. The crypto exchange is expected to go public today at a staggering valuation of around $100 billion. That is more than the highly honoured New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market combined – for a firm that did not even exist 10 years ago.  

If everything goes as planned, today’s direct listing on Nasdaq would cement Coinbase’s position as a huge figure in the US cryptocurrency scene and a potential example for other exchanges who wish to follow in its footsteps and go public, amid a new era of digital money.  

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Coinbase’s COIN stock reference price set at just $250, as 1,700 staff get free shares

Major U.S. exchange Coinbase’s COIN stock has received a reference price at $250 from Nasdaq, ahead of the much-anticipated direct listing on the stock exchange just hours from now.

The price is far below the current FTX pre-trading price of $600, albeit on thin 24-hour volume of under $4 million.

The exchange is going public via a direct listing instead of an IPO, meaning the reference price is not a direct indicator of the company’s market cap. It simply implies a valuation of $65 billion, which is below other estimates ranging between $68 billion and $120 billion.

The Nasdaq announcement stated that the reference price, which reflects past transactions but was established by consultation with Coinbase’s financial advisors, was created due to the fact “COIN has not had recent sustained trading in a private placement market.”

The reference price does not reflect the opening price, the announcement made clear:

“Please note that the reference price is NOT an offering price and nobody has purchased or sold shares at that price. The opening public price will be determined based on buy and sell orders in the opening auction on Nasdaq.”

This is the first significant direct listing on the Nasdaq. According to CNBC, across “the five significant direct listings that have taken place on the New York Stock Exchange — Spotify, Slack, Palantir, Asana, and Roblox — the opening price was on average about 37% above the reference price.” Following this trend, it would put Coinbase’s opening price above $340, with a valuation of around $90 billion.

The trading price could surge even higher with the Coinbase pre-listing contract CBSE currently trading around $600 on the FTX exchange, representing a 140% premium above the reference price. Another indicator suggesting a strong first day was the Q1 2021 financial statement suggesting revenue spiked to $1.8 billion bringing in net income up to $800 million, which is up from the $32 million recorded during the same period last year.

In the lead-up to the Nasdaq listing, Coinbase surprised all 1,700 full-time employees by giving them 100 shares each, worth $25,000 at the current reference price. The March 25 “thank you” gift is a no-strings-attached grant, meaning they could sell them immediately after the listing goes public tomorrow.

These shares are in addition to the 105,510 share options handed out to employees of Coinbase’s Irish arm in recent years.


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Coinbase expects direct listing on April 14

U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase says it anticipates going public with a direct stock listing in two weeks.

According to a Coinbase blog today, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, has declared the crypto exchange’s S-1 registration for a public offering effective. Coinbase’s Class A common stock is expected to trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “COIN” on April 14. 

The crypto exchange had previously been expected to go public in March, but reportedly delayed its plans after paying a $6.5 million fee as part of a settlement with the Community Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC.

Coinbase sent its draft registration for a public offering to the SEC in December, though the crypto exchange disclosed plans to pursue a direct listing through Nasdaq in early 2021. The firm may have a $100 billion valuation at the time of its initial public offering, as suggested by the exchange’s shares reportedly selling for up to $375 each in a private auction last month.

First launched in 2012, Coinbase is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States, with Coinbase Pro handling more than $3 billion in daily transactions according to CoinMarketCap. Crypto exchange Kraken, also based in California, has not yet confirmed that it will follow in Coinbase’s footsteps by going public, but said it would do so through a direct listing rather than a special-purpose acquisition company.