- Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said regulation is “right up there with cybersecurity” in crypto risks.
- Coinbase is about to be the first and largest cryptocurrency firm to go public.
- But as Coinbase makes it market debut, Armstrong said scrutiny of the company may mount.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said two of the biggest risks to cryptocurrency are cybersecurity and regulation.
The executive spoke with CNBC on Wednesday ahead of his company’s public debut via a direct listing. Coinbase is the first major cryptocurrency company to go public, representing the industry’s booming growth.
But as the company moves into the public market, Armstrong noted that scrutiny of Coinbase may also mount as people seek to understand the burgeoning business. And because of that, regulation of the industry poses one of the biggest risks to the market, a risk that’s “right up there with cybersecurity.” In its S-1 filing, the company explicitly listed cyber attacks as a risk factor for the company, given that Coinbase is an online platform that manages a digital currency.
“We’re very excited and happy to play by the rules,” Armstrong told CNBC, regarding potential regulation. “And basically, we just ask that, hey, we want to be treated on those level playing field with traditional financial services at the very least and not have any kind of punishment for being in the crypto space.”
The exec added that Coinbase is “very happy to engage” with US lawmakers on “how we can most thoughtfully build this industry and this company.” You can watch Armstrong’s full interview with CNBC here.
Coinbase will begin trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker “COIN” in a direct listing and has set a reference price of $250 per share. That is set to value the company at about $49 billion ahead of its public market debut.
Cryptocurrency has soared in popularity in recent years. The virtual currency is not issued or processed by the government but is instead managed on so-called blockchains, or encrypted databases. Coinbase is an exchange platform that allows users to manage that digital currency.
Bitcoin remains the most popular form of cryptocurrency – its price soared above $64,000 on Wednesday in the lead-up to Coinbase’s public debut, skyrocketing past a $1 trillion market capitalization. It only took Bitcoin 12 years to hit that milestone, which is three times faster than it took Apple to do so.
The cryptocurrency hit record highs in March, a boom that some experts have said was largely driven by stimulus checks. Institutional investors like Tesla and JP Morgan have also gotten involved, boosting Bitcoin’s success over the past few months.