43% of Coinbase’s $1 billion annual revenue came from December
Coinbase cranked up its revenue in December amidst bitcoin hype but lost it again as prices dropped.
Coinbase made $1 billion in revenue in 2017, it told shareholders. But a new analysis suggests that it was more of a flash in the pan.
"By no stretch of the imagination are they continuing that same trajectory," says Jonathan Meiri, CEO of Superfly Insights, which ran the numbers. "There is a rise up in December. It’s not like it stayed on this plateau into January, February. It came crashing down."
Superfly reached these conclusions based on anonymised and aggregated data from about 25,000 user receipts throughout 2017 and the start of 2018. It's not a complete picture, but it squares with the conclusions drawn by other analysts, the busyness of Coinbase's platform and, of course, the price of bitcoin. Cryptocurrency prices can directly impact the fees charged, and boost revenue beyond what traffic alone would do.
Coinbase's revenue might have come crashing down along with the rest of the cryptocurrency market in January and February, but it's too soon to predict whether it's set the tone for the remainder of the year. It's quite possible that cryptocurrency will continue to grow and that a price run will bring on another December-style frenzy. It's safe to assume that back in November no one at Coinbase was expecting to almost double their annual takings in the next month alone.
The subsequent revenue drops might be easier to anticipate, especially with the Coinbase double charging troubles and some of the big spenders potentially pulling out lest they see their numbers given away to the IRS.
It's also worth noting that Superfly's data was gotten from expense tracking and personal finance apps, many of which might be making neat profits of their own by selling user data. Meier reminded The Verge that all users whose data was sold had consented to it and that it's compliant with Europe's strict new privacy laws.
Coinbase also complies with these, but with a caveat. Users in Singapore and the EU consent to having their verification data used in the USA, where privacy protections might not be as strict. Coinbase users in Singapore and the EU can actually revoke this consent whenever they want, by emailing a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, SALT, BTC