Insider activity reports for Coinbase’s COIN stock indicate that multiple early investors and executives sold billions in equity shortly after COIN’s direct listing. While the filings initially indicated that multiple executives sold a high percentage of their stake in the company, a representative for Coinbase told Cointelegraph that the sellers maintain strong ownership positions.
Data from Capital Market Laboratories and confirmed by filings on Coinbase’s Investor Relations website shows a total of 12,965,079 shares were sold by insiders, worth over $4.6 billion at COIN’s $344.38 per share Friday close.
Notable transactions include Coinbase CFO Alesia Haas selling some 255,500 shares at a price of $388.73 (though her Form 4 states that she retains options), while CEO Brian Armstrong sold 749,999 shares in three transactions at various prices, netting a total of $291,827,966.
According to his Form 4 disclosure, after the sale Armstrong retains 300,001 shares worth over $1 billion. In a filing prior to the direct listing however, he was reported to have 36,851,833 shares, indicating that he sold just over 2% of his stake in the company.
Capital Market Laboratories' data did not indicate that any directors or insiders purchased additional shares, only sold. The sales can also be seen on OpenInsider's SEC Form 4 screener.
A representative for Coinbase told Cointelegraph that the percentage equity share of each executive is not accurately reported by these reporting services, and that the sales represent only a fraction of the executive and insider ownership.
The reports prompted jeering and amusement on social media, with many observers likening the sales to a classic “pump and dump” in which insiders and team members dump tokens into retail liquidity shortly after a listing.
While early investors and executives looked to cash in, there are at least a handful of major buyers. Hedge fund manager Cathie Wood is placing a big bet on the exchange, having purchased over $350 million in shares for three different Ark ETFs.
Likewise, many Coinbase employees now have stake in the company, as 1,700 Coinbase staff were gifted 100 shares each as a “thank you” from the company.
Earlier this year, Coinbase was embroiled in a string of negative headlines relating to CEO Brian Armstrong's handling of a new policy that restricted focus on political and social issues at work. Armstrong insisted that the company remain "mission focused," and the company's mission includes a goal of becoming “the leading global brand for helping people convert digital currency into and out of their local currency.”