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Coinbase, a platform for accessing the crypto economy

Coinbase is a trusted, easy-to-use platform for buying and selling cryptocurrency and accessing the broader crypto economy.


The company was founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong, a former Airbnb engineer, and Fred Ehrsam, a former Goldman Sachs trader. Coinbase started off as a sort of digital wallet for bitcoin, allowing people to buy and sell the new digital currency. Eventually, by early 2021, the company had grown into the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, serving as a platform for multiple digital currencies and offering a variety of products for retail and institutional cryptocurrency investors.

Battery invested in Coinbase’s $100 million Series D round in 2017. The investment was part of our thesis that crypto/blockchain represented the next big platform shift for technology application development, and Coinbase was the gateway into this new world. Battery believed that Coinbase’s growth and market leadership was similar to Netscape’s in the early days of the Internet; just as Netscape helped create a whole new Internet economy, Coinbase could help create a new crypto economy and legions of new, blockchain-related applications and companies, along with billions in new market value.

In addition, we felt Coinbase’s embrace of financial regulations made it a particularly secure platform with more staying power, and one that would be embraced by mainstream financial institutions and individual investors.


Coinbase completed a direct listing of shares on NASDAQ in 2021 and now trades under the ticker COIN.

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The presented case study investment was made in particular economic and market conditions. There can be no assurance that Battery Venture would elect, or be able, to exploit similar opportunities in a similar manner under similar or different economic and market conditions. More generally, there can be no assurances that the Battery vehicles will have comparable investment opportunities in the future. No assumptions should be made that any investments identified above were profitable. It should not be assumed that recommendations made in the future will be profitable or comparable to the portfolio company described in this case study. For a full list of all Battery Ventures investments, please click here.

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