Market Overview

Coinbase stock whipsaws after landmark Nasdaq debut

Coinbase shares whipsawed Thursday morning, a day after the cryptocurrency exchange went public in a blockbuster direct listing. The firm’s stock price climbed as high as 6.4% before it dipped more than 1% at 10:15 a.m. ET. It then recovered to gain about 1%. The company said that it temporarily disabled withdrawals of ether tokens due to an issue with a recent upgrade to that currency’s network. The so-called “Berlin hard fork” is part of a broader effort to make the Ethereum blockchain faster and more secure.

Coinbase was briefly valued at as much as $100 billion in its Nasdaq debut Wednesday, a landmark event for the cryptocurrency industry. The stock closed at $328.28 per share, valuing Coinbase at $85.8 billion on a fully diluted basis. Investors are reacting to news that Ark Invest founder and CEO Cathie Wood loaded up on about $245.9 million worth of Coinbase shares on the firm’s first day of trading. Wood is a longtime bitcoin bull, believing bitcoin and other digital tokens could eventually become part of the recommended portfolio for everyday investors.

Coinbase’s debut was hailed as a “watershed” moment for crypto, after years of skepticism from Wall Street giants and global regulators. But there are concerns that volatility in digital assets and regulatory uncertainty may weigh on the company’s share price long-term — as well as fierce competition from other players such as Binance, Kraken and Gemini. Coinbase made estimated revenues of $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2021, a ninefold increase from the same period a year earlier, while profits surged from $32 million to between $730 million and $800 million. The number of Coinbase’s monthly transacting users rose to 6.1 million from 2.8 million three months earlier.

Bitcoin bulls are banking on more mainstream investors warming to the crypto space. Tesla made a $1.5 billion bet on bitcoin earlier this year, while major U.S. banks like Morgan Stanley and BNY Mellon are launching crypto services for their clients. The most popular digital currency hit a record high of more than $64,000 ahead of Coinbase’s debut Wednesday, but has since pared gains somewhat to trade around $62,473. Still, it’s managed to more than double in price since the start of the year. But while proponents of bitcoin see it as a store of value akin to gold, detractors argue it could be one of the biggest market bubbles in history.

Coinbase stock whipsaws after landmark Nasdaq debut, CNBC, Apr 16

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