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Dec 02, 2022

Business of blockchain: Bracing Coinbase’s IR against the ‘crypto winter’

Anil Gupta, vice president of IR at Coinbase on how to educate and communicate with investors in a volatile market

Coinbase is a crypto economy technology and infrastructure company, on a mission to provide ‘primary access to the open financial system for a billion people’, as the first publicly listed large-cap crypto exchange. Heading up IR since shortly before the April 2021 direct listing is Anil Gupta, no stranger to tech and innovation: he spent eight years as a manager then director of IR at Facebook after stints in equity research and management consulting. But no MBA or CFA for this accomplished IRO – he is a finance and Spanish graduate of Washington University in St Louis.

Anil Gupta, Coinbase
Anil Gupta, Coinbase

Gupta and his IR team have a big job navigating the volatility of the crypto world as a new issuer. Coinbase’s share price looks like a ski ride: from a high of $369 last November to $67 as of late September 2022. Headwinds have come from macro factors including the ‘crypto winter’, the bankruptcy of some high-profile over-extended crypto banks and funds, and the price of Bitcoin – the most-traded crypto asset – losing about 70 percent of its value since late last year along with equally dramatic altcoin price drops.

Coinbase has been quietly building since 2012 and is now ranked in the top three global crypto exchanges by volume, operating in more than 100 countries, with 103 mn verified users and 9 mn monthly transacting users. But it’s not just about retail trading: Coinbase continues to diversify into subscription and product services and has a growing list of institutions and Fortune 500 customers that now includes BlackRock and Meta.

Bracing Coinbase’s IR against the ‘crypto winter’A big strategy is the firm’s new self-custodial wallet that enables Web3 and distributed applications for a next-generation decentralized world, including inter-operability across blockchains, community governance and data owned by users and builders rather than centralized companies.

Since the public listing, Gupta stresses the continued importance of the firm's ‘egalitarian’ approach of openness and transparency, inclusive of all shareholders. ‘Our earnings call, for example, allows any type of shareholder – big or small – to put questions to our management team,’ he says. ‘This format is working well for us. We find most of the retail investor questions are also of interest to institutional investors.’ This approach is helped by using Say Technologies for streamlined investor engagement on earnings calls.

This is an extract of an article that was published in the Winter 2022 issue of IR Magazine. Click here to read the full article.

Linda Montgomery

Linda Montgomery is a Toronto-based tech industry marketing executive and IR professional. She holds two business degrees and a CPIR (Certified Professional in Investor Relations) designation from the Canadian Investor Relations Institute.