Coinbase rides the crypto wave with soaring revenues

14 May 2021

Image: © Jesse/

The cryptocurrency exchange reported more than $1.8bn in quarterly revenue but the volatility of bitcoin lingers overhead.

In its first earnings call since going public, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has continued to enjoy the spoils of crypto rallying.

The company, which went public last month, reported $1.8bn in revenue for the quarter with profits at $771.5m. For context on how much bitcoin’s boom has impacted the company, its revenue 12 months ago was $190.6m.

But the innate volatility of cryptocurrency colours these numbers with some doubt too as the vast majority of Coinbase’s revenue comes from transaction fees.

“As our Q1 results clearly demonstrated, our business is volatile,” the company said in its letter to shareholders.

“We have historically generated high revenue and have been profitable during periods of strong crypto asset prices and we have lost money when prices are low.”

Coinbase has 56m users with 6m monthly transacting users who use the exchange frequently, more than double the figure from the previous quarter.

It serves both retail and institutional investors and its trading volume for the quarter was $335bn. About $215bn of that was among institutional investors as the company continues to target this larger market, though it acknowledged that “institutional revenue is inherently unpredictable”.

It added that the “rapid expansion of the cryptoeconomy” will present challenges with new entrants offering digital assets that Coinbase does not. The company said it plans to list Dogecoin in the next six to eight weeks.

Bitcoin remains the digital asset of most interest as retail investors and large companies take an interest, despite Tesla’s reversal this week. The company added that it has seen an increase in demand for Ethereum, which has undergone its own investor surge of late.

Recently Coinbase closed its San Francisco office as part of its efforts to be a remote-first company. It currently has 1,700 employees.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin