Coinbase Completed $100M Transaction to Test Proprietary Trading: Report

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN) completed a $100 million transaction as a test of its proprietary trading efforts earlier this year, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Thursday.

The exchange hired at least four Wall Street traders to form a group called Coinbase Risk Solutions to use the firm's own cash to trade crypto, the report said.

Proprietary trading is when a firm engages in trading of stocks, bonds, currencies or commodities using its own money as opposed to that of its clients. Such activity is fraught with risk and the potential of conflicts of interest for the financial firm should its trades have an effect on the prices of those assets, which could in turn hurt its clients.

Coinbase executives said last December that it did not engage in proprietary trading when they appeared in Congress.

However, with the price of digital assets encountering a downward trajectory throughout 2022, dragging COIN stock down in the process, Coinbase may have turned to trading on its platform as a means of creating new avenues for profit.

According to WSJ's report, a Coinbase spokeswoman said that its Risk Solutions group was formed to "facilitate client-driven crypto transactions," and and “conflict of interest mitigation tools and policies” were in place.

“Our statements to Congress accurately reflect our actual business activities,...Coinbase does not, and has never, had a proprietary trading business. Any insinuation that we misled Congress is a wilful misrepresentation of the facts," she added.

The exchange were not immediately available to comment further when contacted by CoinDesk.

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