It's rather symbolic that the Coinbase public debut happened on the day that will most certainly become part of history for two other reasons: a quiet death of the fraudster-extraordinaire Bernie Madoff and Joe Biden's announcement about the US leaving Afghanistan for good on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.
Read into this coincidence what you will. My take is that the stars are finally aligning for the world to truly become a better place – not campaign speech better, but indeed a better system, logistically. Madoff’s departure is purely symbolic and by no means changes the Ponzi paradigm. As long as we have shrewd operators and gullible rubes, the former will be swallowing the latter whole. Biden’s long-overdue decision is a major step towards global peace and prosperity, although “Sleepy Joe’s” well-documented, shall we say, veracity deficiency will remain a major factor until the last American boot is lifted off the Afghan soil.
As for Coinbase, it’s been a while since we’ve seen an $86 billion+ direct listing, and the fact that this one is happening in the eye of the pandemic with a no BS crypto entity instills solid-rock confidence in this writer: mass adoption of crypto isn’t “looming,” it’s not “right around the corner” or “about to happen.” It’s here. It’s already happened. If you are in the markets today, you can no longer afford to ignore crypto. You either invest in it, trade it, or watch it, but I’ll bet you a single $332.99 piece of Coinbase stock, you’re not swiping it to the left.
The Silicon Valley crypto exchange was co-founded in 2012 by Brian Armstrong, 38, who runs the platform as chief executive. Fred Ehrsam, a Coinbase director, also played a role in the company’s creation. According to Forbes, Armstrong’s net worth until recently was $6.5 billion, based on his ownership in the company, and since a few hours back, his personal wealth has at the very least doubled.
Coinbase allows people and companies to buy and sell various digital currencies, with Bitcoin and Ether leading the demand and is the second-largest crypto platform, but the largest by volume. The title of largest crypto trading post goes to Binance with its $51,5 billion in crypto trading volume in a 24-hour period, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
Coinbase went public on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “COIN” as a direct listing, meaning it isn’t raising new money, as a company would in a traditional IPO (in a direct listing, a company floats its shares on a stock exchange but without hiring banks to underwrite the transaction as in an IPO). Coinbase is the Nasdaq’s first major direct listing, with Spotify, Slack Technologies, and most recently Palantir all opting to list at the NYSE directly.
Coinbase began trading on Wednesday afternoon at $381 a share, a 52% increase over a $250 reference price set by Nasdaq on Tuesday rising as high as $429.54 in the first few minutes of trading before pulling back and ending the session at $328.28. The exchange had set a reference price on Tuesday of $250, but no trades were executed at that price.
Coinbase’s valuation is about $100 billion – a significant increase over the $8 billion at which Coinbase was last valued in a 2018 fundraising round but below some analysts’ projections of $100 billion. It makes the company worth more than Nasdaq Inc., which has a market value of about $26 billion, and Intercontinental Exchange Inc., parent of the New York Stock Exchange, at about $69 billion. There were reports last week that the exchange’s revenue soared 847% in the first quarter to $1.8 billion and that it now has 56 million verified users.
If you read up to this point, you already know that we at TRASTRA are convinced that as an industry term or a PR schtick, “mass adoption” is downright platitudinal to us. The crypto market is no longer in need of validation. Had it not been for its gigantic valuation and the asset’s somewhat novel nature, the Coinbase listing should’ve been looked at as business as usual. By now, crypto’s been scrutinized up to ying-yang, and the brightest minds in the industry and beyond know perfectly well what it is, what it represents, and its implications for the future of finance. The figures speak for themselves: Coinbase has more users and more revenues than many of the most prominent Wall Street players and is more profitable than any major exchange. Its valuation may be somewhat overblown, but most skeptics are re-evaluating their attitudes as you read this: disruption comes at them from all sides, and even if the market puts crypto prices under pressure after a precipitous rally in recent days, the bulls are clearly winning this one.
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There are tons of documentaries out there on all things crypto. Polarly different opinions are delivered right at your doorstep through multiple media channels designed to affirm or destroy your conviction. Fine, but what about motion pictures and TV?