Cryptocurrency chats on Telegram were ablaze with rocket emojis ahead of the Coinbase IPO on Wednesday. Although longtime players in crypto often approach the centralized exchange with caution—citing concerns over astronomical fees and reporting its users to the IRS—the Nasdaq listing is a significant catalyst for Bitcoin and DeFi.
“It will shine a light on DEXs [decentralized exchanges] and will act as a gateway to get the next wave of retail and institutional investors to DeFi,” Nisa Amoils, managing partner of A100x and a former securities lawyer, told Paradox.
Bitcoin has largely led this cryptocurrency bull run, driven by billionaires like Elon Musk and Michael Saylor converting their companies’ bank notes, and institutional investors like Fidelity flocking to the space. But Bitcoin is only one of the many cryptocurrencies listed on Coinbase: The number two coin by market cap on the platform is Ethereum.
— nic (as a bitcoiner) (@nic__carter) April 14, 2021
As other billionaires like Mark Cuban have noted, Ethereum functions more like “a true currency” due to smart contracts—owning Ethereum allows holders to earn interest payments on their cryptocurrency, buy lower cap alt-coins ahead of their release on centralized exchanges, and operate in the DeFi ecosystem. The Coinbase IPO puts the backbone of DeFi into a much more prominent position with an accredited seal of approval from NASDAQ.
Coinbase also lists other prominent DeFi players like Uniswap, the largest decentralized exchange by market cap.
“Coinbase offers a diverse array of cryptocurrency assets like Sushiswap and Uniswap, which fuel the DeFi economy,” Augur cofounder Jeremy Gardner told Paradox. “As it has always been, Coinbase is the gentle, accessible gateway to the burgeoning cryptoeconomy.”
Disclosure: The author of this piece owns Bitcoin and Ethereum.