Coinbase is set to tap the public markets via a direct listing on Nasdaq, and it's relying on a cadre of Wall Street firms to help make it a success.
Per an S-1 filing dropped Thursday morning, Coinbase has enlisted the support of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Allen & Co, and Citigroup.
On the day of the direct listing, Nasdaq will start accepting orders while the financial advisors work on setting an indicative reference price to kick-off trading.
"During a 10-minute 'Display Only' period, market participants may enter quotes and orders in Class A common stock in Nasdaq's systems and such information is disseminated, along with other indicative imbalance information, to Goldman Sachs and other market participants (including the other financial advisors) by Nasdaq on its NOII and BookView tools," the S-1 explains.
Price discovery is initially conducted by the firm's designated financial advisor or market maker. In some cases, the DMM will use an indication process to get a sense of the supply and demand for the stock before the first trade is made.
"They iterate until they have a pretty good idea of what the buy and sell pressure is going to be when it starts trading," Shawn Cruz of TD Ameritrade noted ahead of Spotify's direct listing in 2018. "The opening process will take a little longer."
After the "Display Only" period ends, then Goldman Sachs — acting at the designated financial advisor — will notify Nasdaq when its shares are ready to trade.
It's not clear exactly how much the bankers will rake in from the direct listing. In a traditional initial public offering, bankers will make a percentage of the proceeds raised, but firms don't raise money in a direct listing.
Coinbase declined to comment when reached.