Crypto Exchange Coinbase Draws Mixed Reaction on Wall Street After Weak Q3

Trading volume was down, but the company is trying to diversify its revenue.

AccessTimeIconNov 4, 2022 at 5:56 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:01 a.m. UTC
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Crypto exchange Coinbase Global (COIN) missed earnings estimates for the third quarter as trading volume fell 71% from the fourth quarter of 2021, but interest income from its exposure to the USDC stablecoin was a bright spot.

The reaction on Wall Street was mixed, although Oppenheimer analyst Owen Lau, for one, is bullish.

“We believe the visibility of COIN generating positive adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2023 has increased, and its ability to diversify and generate non-trading revenue is still underappreciated,” Lau wrote in a research note to clients. Lau continued with an outperform rating on Coinbase's shares and a $107 price target, or nearly double the current price of $57.

Others on Wall Street, though, continue to question Coinbase’s path to profitability.

“With the decline in trading volume, it looks like it will take longer to get to EBITDA-positive, as Coinbase continues to invest in building out new products and services, in part supporting the growth of the crypto ecosystem,” JPMorgan analyst Kenneth Worthington said in a note to clients. JPMorgan has a neutral rating and $66 price target on the stock.

Josepth Vafi, director of equity research at Canaccord Genuity, was bit more constructive, telling clients Coinbase is "finding the right happy medium" with its realization that the cost structure needs to be managed as breakneck growth is in the past. "A steady cost lane may be the right balance for achieving a steady goal of growing competitively but efficiently."

The numbers

Late Thursday, the company reported third-quarter revenue of $576 million, down from $803 million in the second quarter and from $1.24 billion in last year's third quarter. It lost $116 million on an Ebitda basis in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $151 million in the second quarter and a profit of $618 million a year ago.

Trading volume fell to $159 billion from $217 billion in the second quarter and from $547 billion last year's fourth quarter.

Subscription revenue, however, rose to $211 million from $147 million three months earlier. The largest contributor to that jump was interest income – which flowed through to Coinbase thanks to its exposure to USD coin (USDC)bas well as interest earned on customer fiat deposits.

Coinbase didn't offer new estimates for next year, but said it is “preparing with a conservative bias and assuming that the current macroeconomic headwinds will persist and possibly intensify.”


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Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto reporter focused on public companies and digital asset firms.

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