Coinbase’s market value rocketed to nearly $100 billion Wednesday as the cryptocurrency exchange’s stock price soared in its landmark trading debut.
Coinbase shares hit the Nasdaq exchange at $381 apiece, notching a 52-percent gain from the $250 reference price that was set for the crypto giant’s direct listing.
That opening price gave Coinbase a fully diluted market value of $99.6 billion, according to CNBC — making it worth nearly four times as much as the Nasdaq’s parent company and some 49 percent more than Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange.
It also made Coinbase’s 38-year-old CEO Brian Armstrong an instant billionaire, driving his net worth to $15 billion as of 2 p.m. ET. The former Airbnb engineer owns a 20-percent stake in Coinbase, amounting to 39.6 million shares.
“We’re still in the early days of this industry, but we’re squarely focused on the future, on our mission, and on building the best crypto experiences for you, our community,” Armstrong wrote in a Wednesday blog post.
The stock rocketed even higher Wednesday afternoon but later slid below the opening price to trade at $379.61 as of 2:03 p.m.
The initial spike underscored the strength of investor interest in Coinbase and the extent to which the company’s listing marked a major milestone for cryptocurrency’s push into the financial mainstream.
“Coinbase is a foundational piece of the crypto ecosystem and is a barometer for the growing mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and crypto for the coming years,” Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said.
Anticipation for Coinbase’s listing helped push up the price of bitcoin — the world’s oldest and largest cryptocurrency — to an all-time high near $65,000 on Wednesday, according to CoinDesk data.
Coinbase — which calls itself a “decentralized” company with no headquarters — recently said it expects to post net profits of $730 million to $800 million on about $1.8 billion in revenues for the first quarter of this year amid growing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies.
But the company has acknowledged that its revenues fluctuate with the notoriously volatile prices of bitcoin and other crypto assets, making them unpredictable.
Coinbase went public through a direct listing, meaning it sold existing shares rather than issuing new ones through a traditional initial public offering. Other tech giants such as Roblox, Spotify and Palantir have executed direct listings in recent years.