The National Pension Service (NPS), a public pension in South Korea and one of the world’s largest pension funds, bought just over 280,000 shares of the global cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in the third quarter of this year, an investment that has gained 39% in value since the purchase.
The investment is worth $27.7 million based on Coinbase’s last recorded close of $98.15 on Nov. 15, according to data from TradingView. According to the SEC filing, the NPS has acquired its Coinbase stock batch for about $19.9 million, which implies that the pension fund’s profit equaled $7 million, or 39%.
According to a report by the local news agency News1, the recent Coinbase investment by South Korea’s public pension fund marks the first time the company has bought COIN stock. The NPS reportedly has had a policy of not investing directly in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) due to volatility.
In 2021, South Korea’s National Assembly reportedly criticized the NPS for its investment in a crypto-related business. In response, the NPS argued that it only invested in the exchange and that cryptocurrencies were not an investment target.
Coinbase stock has seen significant growth in 2023, surging to as high as $110 per share in July. COIN shares have added value of close to 170% year-to-date after starting 2023 at around $37, according to data from TradingView. The stock is still 74% down from its all-time highs above $300 in September 2021.
Coinbase’s massive growth in 2023 came despite the exchange facing a lawsuit from the U.S. SEC. Filed in June 2023, the lawsuit alleges that Coinbase violated U.S. securities laws by offering unregistered securities, or certain cryptocurrencies, for investment on its platform. In October, Coinbase once again disputed SEC’s authority in crypto, arguing that its definition of security was too wide.
Additional reporting by Amaka Nwaokocha.