Everyone wants to fund the next Coinbase
In celebration of Coinbase’s earnings report today, investors poured a mountain of cash into one of the company’s global competitors.
I’m kidding, of course, but today really is Coinbase’s earnings day, and private investors really did just push $210 million into another exchange.
The company, FalconX, is now worth $3.75 billion. As Bloomberg notes, that’s a 5x valuation jump in less than half a year. FalconX raised a smaller $50 million round in March, notably in part from Coinbase Ventures.
The FalconX news should not surprise. Indian crypto exchange CoinDCX just raised $90 million, reaching a $1 billion valuation in the process. This past weekend, Indonesian cryptocurrency exchange Pintu raised $35 million. And earlier this year, Hong Kong-based crypto exchange FTX raised $900 million at an $18 billion valuation. There are other examples.
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It’s a lot of capital in a global race to fund the next Coinbase, I reckon.
And you can’t fault investors in their hunt. After all, Coinbase has proven to be an incredibly powerful business when crypto interest is high; trading revenues at the U.S. crypto exchange rose to $1.80 billion in the first quarter of 2021, per its most recent 10-Q filing. Coinbase managed to juice its revenue haul for $771.5 million in net income. In per-share terms, Coinbase earned $3.05 per diluted piece of equity.
It was an impressive result. Today, investors are expecting Coinbase to report $1.77 billion to $1.83 billion in revenue, depending on which analyst summary you prefer, and earnings per share of around $2.57. You can somewhat easily puzzle out what sort of net income that EPS figure represents, given the company’s Q1 results.
I’d normally argue that Coinbase’s results today would help set the tone for venture investment in the private sector and valuations for other crypto exchanges. But given the sheer amount of money that has recently flowed into a coterie of startups around the globe hoping to build the Coinbase of their market, the concept seems somewhat moot.
Instead, Coinbase’s earnings and comments about the market will simply help us understand the playground in which other crypto exchanges are currently playing, admittedly from a decidedly U.S.-centric perspective. Coinbase’s last quarter saw it generate some 81% of its revenues from its domestic market, as a data point.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s no fun to be had. We can do some math regarding trading volumes and valuations. Since we have Coinbase’s trading volume data, we can parse other exchanges for their own shared data and see which seem expensive — or cheap. So, let’s do just that. Into the numbers!
Trading volume as revenue proxy
Per its 10-Q filing concerning the quarter ended March 31, 2021, Coinbase reported that it saw trading volume of $334.74 billion, up 1,022% from its Q1 2020 number of $29.83 billion. The company also reported that its transaction — trading — revenues for the period were $1.54 billion. So, Coinbase generated around $0.0046 per dollar of traded crypto on its platform in the period.
It goes without saying, but we’re wandering into the realm of speculative math, which means that everything we’re doing today is directional rather than absolute. Our goal of seeing how other exchanges are valued based on their trading volumes will be useful, but not definitive. We’ll have to wait for more S-1s and similar filings to get to full confidence.
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