Riding Bitcoin Surge, Coinbase Active Users Grew by 117% in Q1 2021; Revenue Tops $1.8B

Numbers published Tuesday ahead of a public listing next week show a profitable Coinbase capitalizing on the current market.

Apr 6, 2021 at 8:22 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:37 p.m. UTC

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase saw a whopping 117% quarter-over-quarter increase in monthly transacting users, the firm revealed Tuesday in its voluntary earnings report.

All those users helped Coinbase rake in $1.8 billion over the quarter, driving a net income of approximately $730 million to $800 million, according to a new filing that comes ahead of the company's Nasdaq listing next week.

All the numbers point to a business riding high as interest in cryptocurrency tracks upward with the price of bitcoin, ether and other leading assets.

For example:

  • Active users on Coinbase jumped from 2.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 6.1 million in the first quarter of 2021.
  • Verified users – or the total number of people with Coinbase accounts – increased from 43 million at the end of 2020 to 56 million at the end of Q1 2021.
  • Trading volumes topped $335 billion in Q1. For all of 2020, trading volume was $193 billion.
  • Total assets on Coinbase's platform increased from $90 billion to $223 billion, nearly a 150% increase quarter-over-quarter.

Showing how solidly Coinbase has cemented itself at the center of the current bull run, some $122 billion of those assets were from institutions.

On the retail side, the company will be adding more assets and giving people more access to decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said during Tuesday's earnings call.

On the institutional side, the company will continue to build out its prime brokerage offering and use its Bison Trails acquisition to create what Armstrong called the "Amazon Web Services for crypto."

The exchange also gave three financial scenarios for the rest of 2021.

In a "high" performance scenario, Coinbase would average 7 million monthly users if the crypto market capitalization grows throughout the rest of the year. In a "mid" scenario, the exchange would average 5.5 million monthly users if the market capitalization is flat. In a "low" scenario, the exchange would average 4 million if the market turns into something like the 2018 bear market.

"For the last two years we've seen average net revenue per [monthly transacting user] range between $34 and $45 per month," Coinbase CFO Alesia Haas said on the call. Haas said she expects the average net revenue per user to reach new records in 2021.

Coinbase's new cohort of stock analysts were particularly keen on user metrics, as CoinDesk reported earlier today.

"The first quarter more than doubled monthly users sequentially and revenue followed three times higher than the previous quarter," James Friedman, senior fintech research analyst at Susquehanna International Group, told CoinDesk after Coinbase's earnings call, adding:

"How do you have users doubling and growth three times that? It happens because volume per user also increased. That's the increase in the price of bitcoin."
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