Coinbase is an online platform for cryptocurrency trading and provides a storage solution for these. There are two ways to get a digital coin: Either you buy them from an online market or you mine them yourself. When mining, a computer essentially tries to solve puzzles. A cryptocurrency is awarded when this process is complete. Can a consumer then use his/her own PC to mine Bitcoin for free? Not with the average PC, as the computing power needed to mine a Bitcoin has gone up exponentially by 2021. Computers that do have this power have become expensive: Prices of specialized mining rigs grew by roughly 10 percent every week in 2021. Online exchanges are therefore the primary option for consumers to acquire Bitcoin. The 24h trading volume of Bitcoin, Ethereum and many other cryptocurrencies consequently reached in the millions per day in 2021.
Coinbase’s cash flows
Back in 2018, Coinbase raised 300 million U.S. dollars after a valuation of more than eight billion U.S. dollars. By 2020, the net revenue of Coinbase was over one billion U.S. dollars. Transaction revenue was said to make up "over 96 percent" of the total net revenue – as Coinbase charges fees and commissions when buying and selling virtual currencies. This is the core of their business model, as seen in the operating cash flow: High figures for so-called “custodial funds due to consumers” led to a 2020 net income of 322 million U.S. dollars. It is, however, not the only source of income for Coinbase as it is also one of the world’s biggest companies that holds Bitcoin itself. Calculations based off the prospectus indicate Coinbase owns roughly 4,500 BTC, as Coinbase investment cash flows reveal the company earned over 45 million U.S. dollars out of crypto asset trading.
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