Coinbase, Glencore and the art of timing | Business

On the face of it, Coinbase and Glencore have nothing in common. Coinbase runs an app that allows people to buy and sell digital currencies. Glencore, the commodities giant, deals in tankers full of crude, collieries in Colombia and Congolese copper mines.

Yet as the meltdown in cryptocurrencies has unfolded this past month, the two companies suddenly look remarkably similar.

Ten years ago this month, Glencore pulled off London’s biggest stock market float. Led by sharp-elbowed trader Ivan Glasenberg, it could not have timed the £37 billion listing better. It was the peak of the commodities “super-cycle” — a decade-long boom in raw materials like oil and copper that Glencore traded.

Coinbase’s listing in New York last month was similarly well-timed. The nine-year-old company