As Coinbase prepares to go public, it is warning of the risk Bitcoin’s founder(s) pose to the cryptocurrency market in general, and Coinbase in particular.
Coinbase has emerged as one of the most popular ways of trading cryptocurrencies. The company’s success has positioned it for a widely anticipated IPO, but the company is warning of risk factors it faces, unique to its industry, in an SEC filing.
The majority of Coinbase’s net revenue is derived from Bitcoin and Ethereum trading. As a result, should the demand for those cryptocurrencies decline, without another rising to replace them, Coinbase would be in serious trouble.
Another risk factor is “the identification of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person or persons who developed Bitcoin, or the transfer of Satoshi’s Bitcoins.”
The real identify of Bitcoin’s creator remains unknown, with “Satoshi Nakamoto” the pseudonymous name of the individual or group of individuals responsible. As Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto’s stash of bitcoins is worth an estimated $30 billion. If Nakamoto were to transfer that large a sum, roughly 5% of the 21 million total available bitcoins, it would drive the price down substantially.
Coinbase’s listed risk factors illustrates the challenges companies face as they navigate, adapt and build a business around the emerging cryptocurrency market.