Tuesday was a day to forget for Coinbase. Catherine Wood’s Ark Invest dumped $75 million worth of the company’s stock, the firm took a massive hit after its debut movie trailer flopped, and rumors swirled of an SEC probe into whether it allowed US traders to buy and sell assets that should have been registered as securities.
All told, the day was Coinbase’s lowest trading session ever.
Ark Invest CEO Wood couldn’t have timed her sales more poorly for Coinbase. She offloaded 1.4 million shares across her Ark Innovation (ARKK), Next Generation Internet (ARKW), and Fintech Innovation (ARKF) exchange-traded funds (ETFs). All this on the day that Coinbase closed -21% after the trailer for its “Degen Trilogy” was hammered on Twitter.
The day after Wood sold, COIN bounced +11% — ironic, given that she’d recently touted that crypto’s bear market was nearing an end.
At the end of June, Ark owned 8.95 million COIN. It bought the shares in increments since the IPO with Wood’s most recent purchase of half a million shares occurring in May.
Ark Invest’s flagship ETF, ARKK, was the best-performing ETF of 2020. Fast forward to today and ARKK is nearly 70% below its all-time high.
Coinbase’s disappointing year
Coinbase held its IPO in April 2021 with its share price peaking at $430 the same month. However, it’s been on the slide ever since, dropping below $250 in December last year. It’s currently trading around $59.
Crypto asset values also fizzled this year. Bitcoin dropped from $47,855 on January 1 to less than $23,000 today. Coinbase blamed its lackluster performance on declining revenue and the crypto bear market.
The SEC is not happy with Coinbase
The SEC is pursuing charges against a former employee of the exchange and two co-conspirators regarding an insider trading scheme.
The SEC is also probing unregistered security listings. The exchange’s legal officer Paul Grewal denies the allegations that the exchange has listed unregistered securities for trading. He says that Coinbase carefully scrutinizes tokens before each listing.
Diverting attention, Coinbase praised other countries’ work on regulatory frameworks for digital assets. It highlighted the European Union’s finalized Markets in Crypto Asset (MICA) regulation from June 30, 2022.
Awkward crypto movie trailer flops
Degen Trilogy is an animated action movie. It repeatedly advertised Bored Apes NFTs and its associated ICO, Ape Coin (APE). Full of jargon, it came off as a disorganized, expositional commercial. On Twitter alone, it earned thousands of negative comments and quote-tweets.
ApeCoin issuer Yuga Labs gave 37% of its token’s supply to ICO organizers: 15% to itself, 8% to its founders, and 14% to launch contributors.
Coinbase NFT is nowhere close to OpenSea
It’s unlikely that Degen Trilogy will salvage Coinbase NFT, the company arm that’s spearheading the project. For context, the exchange’s NFT platform launched in April 2022 to lackluster reception, with just 900 transactions during its April 20-25 debut week. By comparison, its largest competitor OpenSea processed tens of thousands of transactions during the same week.
Prior to launch, Coinbase NFT had a three million-person waitlist. It promised investors to somehow add new users through future partnerships.
Its NFT platform uses 0x Project as its backend. Daily trading volume on 0x Project’s NFT marketplace peaked at just $229,485 on July 15, 2022. In contrast, OpenSea processes $12 million per day on Ethereum.
But the bad news doesn’t end there. Coinbase laid off 18% of its workforce and has rescinded job offers. CEO Brian Armstrong blamed declining revenue and a possible recession, which have impacted digital asset values. He also admitted that Coinbase grew too fast.