Coinbase shares surge after posting first quarterly profit in two years

In this photo illustration, the Coinbase logo is seen displayed on a mobile phone screen. 
Idrees Abbas | SOPA Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Shares of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase soared 12% Friday at 10:05 London time in U.S. premarket trading after the company reported its first profit in two years.

Coinbase, the largest U.S. venue for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, said that net income totalled $273 million in the fourth quarter.

This is the first time that the company has reported positive net income since the fourth quarter of 2021.

Coinbase said Thursday that its net revenue was $905 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, up nearly 50% from $605 million in the same period of the previous year.

Cryptocurrencies saw a huge amount of interest from investors in the fourth quarter of last year, following news of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approving the first spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) — for bitcoin.

Bitcoin ETFs enable retail investors to access the cryptocurrency as a share that’s traded on a regulated exchange without directly exposing them to the underlying asset.

The news has driven heightened demand for cryptocurrencies due to anticipation that it could drive heightened interest from retail investors.

Coinbase said that transaction revenues were the primary driver of revenues for the last quarter of 2023, adding that subscription and services revenue remained relatively flat.

Coinbase added that, in the fourth quarter, the company saw heightened volatility in crypto prices resembling levels observed during the first quarter of 2023.

This was driven by approval of the bitcoin ETF and broad expectations for improving macroeconomic conditions in 2024.

Consumer trading revenue was $493 million for the quarter, up 79% quarter-over-quarter.

Speaking with CNBC Thursday, Coinbase Chief Financial Officer Alesia Haas said that the company did not have to adjust fees to account for the higher volumes coming through the platform, as this was supported by its mix of fees for “Simple” and “Advanced” traders.

“In Q4, and we’ve shared this for many quarters, a lot of the results of our fee rate is just the mix shift on our platform — who traded what product in the quarter,” she added.

“So in Q4, when we saw higher volatility, we grew Simple trading, but Advanced grew more.”

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