Coinbase Global was valued at US$86-billion at the end of its Nasdaq debut on Wednesday, in a choppy day of trading when its valuation went as high as $112-billion.
Coinbase’s stock market debut, done through a direct listing where no shares are sold ahead of the opening, marks another milestone in the development of bitcoin and other digital assets. It comes amid a surge in the value of cryptocurrencies which has lured a clutch of mainstream, top-tier firms that have dived into the space.
The stock opened at $381/share, up 52.4% from a reference price of $250/share set on Tuesday, though only 10.9% above the $343.58 volume-weighted average price Coinbase’s shares were trading at privately in the first quarter of 2021.
The stock closed at $328.28, which gives Coinbase a fully diluted valuation of $85.8-billion, including unvested stock options and restricted stocks, and a market capitalisation of $65.4-billion. By comparison, New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange has a market cap of around $66-billion.
Founded in 2012, the San Francisco-based firm boasts 56 million users globally and an estimated $223-billion assets on its platform, accounting for 11.3% of crypto asset market share, regulatory filings showed.
“We’re just very grateful to be able to bring transparency to the crypto economy, the ecosystem that we’ve all been building over the last 10 years,” Coinbase chief financial officer Alesia Haas said in an interview. “It just brings this level of recognition that this is an industry that is here, that is growing, and that is not just in the corners.”
Coinbase was valued at just under $6-billion as recently as September, but has surged in line with bitcoin’s gains this year. The world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency hit a record of over $63 000 on Tuesday and has more than doubled in value this year as banks and companies warmed to the emerging asset.
The company’s most recent financial results underscore how revenues have surged in lock-step with the rally in bitcoin trading volumes and price. In the first quarter of the year, as bitcoin more than doubled in price, Coinbase estimated revenue of over $1.8-billion and net income between $730-million and $800-million, versus revenue of $1.3-billion for the entire 2020.
“The correlation to bitcoin will be very high after the stock stabilises after listing,” said Larry Cermak, director of research at crypto website The Block. “When the price of bitcoin goes down, it’s inevitable that Coinbase’s revenue and inherently the price of the stock will decline as well.”
Regulatory risks also loom, others said, as Coinbase increases the number of digital assets users can trade on its platform. Coinbase last year suspended trading in major digital currency XRP after US regulators charged associated blockchain firm Ripple with a $1.3-billion unregistered securities offering. Ripple has denied the charges. — Reported by Echo Wang, with additional reporting by Niket Nishant, Tom Wilson and Anna Irrera, (c) 2021 Reuters