Coinbase Becomes the First Crypto Exchange to Launch on US Stock MarketPublished April 22, 2021 by Elana K
The entrance of Coinbase into the US stock market reflects a change in the way cryptocurrencies are being viewed by the finance industry and the entire world.
Leading up to the Coinbase debut on Nasdaq on Wednesday, Bitcoin reached a record high of $63,236 and ether, bitcoin’s runner-up (for the time being), also hit a new record of $2,230. Coinbase is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States and the third-largest in the world, following the Chinese platforms Binance and Huobi Global. Its entrance into the US stock market reflects a change in the way cryptocurrencies are being viewed by the finance industry and the entire world.
When bitcoin was unveiled in 2008, it was considered a fringe, counterculture, anarchic system, so Coinbase’s appearance on the stock market is something of a milestone in recognizing how far crypto has come in becoming mainstream.
What is Coinbase?
Coinbase is a platform that acts as both a bank and brokerage firm. Users can buy, invest, and store 50 types of cryptocurrencies, though bitcoin and ether are the most popular. The platform has 56 million verified users across the world, 13 million of which are new customers who joined in the first quarter of 2021.
The company went public on Wednesday through a direct listing that opened at $381 per share, skyrocketing the company’s valuation to $99.6 billion. With the 58% surge, co-founder Brian Armstrong’s net worth rose to about $20 billion. Fred Ehrsam, the other co-founder who left the company in 2017 but still retained about 6% of shares, also cemented his billionaire status with Coinbase’s direct listing.
When Coinbase launched, bitcoin was worth $6 and wasn’t taken very seriously. Today, it’s valued at over $60 thousand. With the launch of Coinbase on Nasdaq, it doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down any time soon.