Bitcoin exchange Coinbase confirms its unicorn status with $1.6 billion valuation

Just weeks after a user exodus over bitcoin cash, the cryptocurrency exchange confirms that it's still a darling with investors.

Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange that broke hearts last week with its initial decision not to support bitcoin cash, confirmed to the world Thursday that it is in fact a unicorn.

The San Francisco-based company raised $100 million in Series D funding, led by IVP, which it will use to expand staff, invest in projects, and open a GDAX office in New York City. GDAX — the global digital assets exchange — is a Coinbase-owned exchange for institutions and professional traders to trade cryptocurrencies.

This funding round puts Coinbase's valuation at $1.6 billion.

"Digital currencies are having their 'Netscape' moment," wrote Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase. "secret master plan


Speculation had been brewing around its funding since June, when The Wall Street Journal reported that it might hit unicorn status.

But for the last two weeks, the company has been on the defense, following its decision not to participate in the bitcoin fork on August 1, which split bitcoin — the established cryptocurrency which users can exchange on Coinbase — into a new currency called bitcoin cash.

Coinbase warned its users that they would have to withdraw bitcoin reserves from Coinbase before the fork if they wanted to see their share of the automatically generated bitcoin cash.

"Our goal is to be the safest, most trusted and compliant, and easiest to use," Armstrong wrote at the time. "Not the first to market with new assets. Especially at scale, it takes time to ensure any new asset we add is well tested and secure."

The company wouldn't say how many users withdrew from the exchange following that announcement, but the website was brought to a halt, with delays around 12 hours for users looking to move their bitcoin.


However, the company reversed its decision late last week, and said it would add support for bitcoin cash by 2018.

Coinbase still hasn't announced whether it will add exchanges for bitcoin cash, but at the very least, users will be able to withdraw the bitcoin cash automatically generated in their wallets at the time of the fork.


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