Bitcoin Surges As Coinbase Makes Wall Street Debut

Bitcoin hit a new all-time high on Wednesday morning. At writing, it has traded as high as $64,780 per coin — an 825% increase from this time last year and an increase of more than 120% since the beginning of 2021.

The surge comes as Coinbase Global, Inc. (NASDAQ: COIN) listed to the Nasdaq exchange, becoming the first cryptocurrency exchange trade publicly.

Coinbase is one of the largest players in the cryptocurrency markets, with over 56 million users.

According to the company profile on Yahoo! Finance, The San Francisco-based company provides clients “a platform to invest, store, spend, earn, and use crypto assets.” Its platform includes “an online marketplace for hedge funds, money managers, and corporations” as well as individual investors.

After much anticipation, COIN opened at 1:25 p.m. Eastern, and the first trade was executed at $381 per share. It has since traded as high as $429.54, giving the company a valuation of more than $110 billion.

Coinbase went public through a direct listing, which means the company doesn’t sell any shares ahead of time or go through an underwriter. In a direct listing, there’s no lock-up period either. All existing investors can sell their shares as soon as trading is open.

According to Reuters, the last round of funding in 2018 gave the company a valuation of $8 billion. During the first quarter of 2021, the average price paid for a share of COIN on private markets was $343.58, giving the company a valuation of about $68 billion.

In an April press release, Coinbase reported estimated first-quarter revenue of $1.8 billion, an increase of more than 200% from the previous quarter and an increase of more than 840% from the first quarter of 2020, according to CNBC.

For comparison, Nasdaq, Inc. (NASDAQ: NDAQ) the parent company of the Nasdaq exchange, has a market cap of about $26 billion. And Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, has a market cap of $67 billion.

The Coinbase IPO is one more step in a long journey for cryptocurrency as it joins the mainstream financial world. As we reported last month, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and PayPal Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: PYPL) recently expanded payment options to allow for more crypto use.

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