Coinbase has raised $547.3 million in venture backing over the years, according to Crunchbase. Tiger Global Management, which is currently raising up to $3.75 billion for its newest fund, led Coinbase’s company’s most recent private round, a $300 million Series E financing that closed in 2018 and assigned Coinbase a post-money valuation of $8 billion.
Last September, the company parted ways with more than 5% of its employees, after cofounder and CEO Brian Armstrong publicly discouraged employee activism and political discussions at work, then offered severance to staffers who were uncomfortable with the policy.
Roughly 60 people took the company up on the offer, Coinbase itself later revealed.
Coinbase’s IPO has been eagerly anticipated by many, though changes in Washington could potentially have a dampening effect on the company and other exchanges.
Coinbase’s own former chief legal officer, Brian Brooks, was last summer appointed as the acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and among his other crypto-friendly efforts, he published interpretive letters and announcements declaring that banks can partner with crypto custodians and conduct payments using stablecoins.
It was never entirely clear how much weight those letters and announcements carried. Asked last week about Brooks’s most recent interpretive letter, in which he stated that financial institutions can participate as nodes on a blockchain and store or validate payments, the FDIC said in an emailed response that it had no comment.
Asked last week if Brooks’s letter signaled changing U.S. monetary policy, the U.S. Treasury Department did not respond to our press request.
Brooks’s reign has ended, in any case. With a new incoming administration, he resigned from his position this week, replaced by a career OCC employee, Blake Paulson, who may himself be replaced in coming weeks. The change leaves question about how and whether the agency’s tone toward cryptocurrency will change.
Meanwhile, Gary Gensler, a former financial regulator and Goldman Sachs banker who has most recently been teaching at M.I.T. is expected to be nominated to lead the SEC. He is also expected to welcome greater oversight of the $1 trillion cryptocurrency market than Jay Clayton, the Wall Street attorney who stepped down from the role last month after three years.