Will Coinbase Introduce Its Own Exchange Token?

The exchange's SEC filing discusses the pros and cons of a native cryptocurrency.

Will Coinbase Introduce Its Own Exchange Token?
Shutterstock photo by Faizal Ramli

Key Takeaways

  • Coinbase has published its S-1 document, which discusses its upcoming stock offering.
  • The document also considers the possibility of a native exchange token, and the possible consequences of issuing one.
  • It is arguably unlikely that Coinbase will issue a token in the near future, given its involvement with USDC.

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Coinbase’s S-1 document has been released publicly. Though the document mainly discusses the exchange’s upcoming stock offering, it also considers the possibility of a native cryptocurrency.

Coinbase Mentions Native Tokens

Coinbase makes mention of a native blockchain token in several sections. Most plainly, the firm suggests that it could “issue additional shares of capital stock, including in the form of blockchain tokens, in connection with customer reward or loyalty programs.”

More specifically, the firm says that it has “authorized the issuance of blank check” stocks, which its board of directors could use to “issue shares of our capital stock in the form of blockchain tokens, implement a stockholder rights plan, or issue other shares of preferred stock or common stock.”

In context, those comments do not necessarily suggest that Coinbase intends to introduce its own token. Rather, they suggest that it is considering the consequences of doing so.

Coinbase believes that issuing a token would affect the price of its stock. The firm notes that if it issues a token, that decision could “result in substantial dilution to our existing stockholders” and cause stock prices to decline or become volatile, among other issues.

Is a Coinbase Token Likely?

Despite Coinbase’s concerns, the idea that the exchange could introduce its own cryptocurrency is not entirely out of the question.

Many leading crypto exchanges have their own asset, including Binance (Binance Coin), Huobi (Huobi Token), Gemini (Gemini Dollar), KuCoin (KuCoin Token), and OKEx (OKB Coin).

In fact, Coinbase is already highly involved in the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin. It co-founded the Centre Consortium that produces the coin; it also distributes rewards to USDC holders who store their balance on the exchange. In light of those facts, a new Coinbase cryptocurrency for retail purposes seems somewhat unlikely.

It is somewhat more plausible that the firm will tokenize its shares for institutional trading, given that it does not have an asset for that purpose yet—though even this is still uncertain.

At the time of writing this author held less than $75 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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