Listed firms that deal in cryptocurrencies or have exposure to them saw a field of green in global markets Wednesday, ahead of the much-anticipated direct listing of crypto exchange Coinbase on the Nasdaq.
For instance, MicroStrategy, the data intelligence firm that has added huge amounts of bitcoin to its balance sheet saw its shares up 18.5% over the past few days, tracing a 7.8% jump Tuesday morning that mirrored bitcoin’s rise.
The emergence of bitcoin proxy stocks in recent months has created a cottage industry among investors who want crypto’s upside but don’t (or can’t) hold crypto itself. Indeed, JPMorgan filed to launch a “Cryptocurrency Exposure Basket” in March. The need for backdoor access to bitcoin is only heightened in the U.S., where the Securities and Exchange Commission has been extremely reticent to approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Also up in global trading was Colorado-based bitcoin mining company Riot Blockchain (NASDAQ: RIOT), which saw a 15% increase; and Canaan (NASDAQ: CAN), another mining firm that saw an 11% bump over the past 24 hours.
Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency by market capitalization, was hitting all-time highs of close to $65,000 at press time.
Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN), whose fortunes are closely wedded to the price of bitcoin, was slapped with a reference price of $250 ahead of Wednesday’s listing – somewhat lower than trading on private markets in the weeks running up to its debut.
Coinbase coming to market is a rising tide for all crypto players, said Jonathan Rowland, CEO of London-listed cryptocurrency firm Mode, whose shares are up around 12% in the past few days.
“I don’t think we have seen an uptick as high as I might have expected,” Rowland said in an interview. “We think that a lot of the crypto community who invest in shares may have taken some money off the table with some of the smaller holdings like Mode in order to buy Coinbase.”
The journey Coinbase completes today will likely bring its market cap in line with the likes of Uber, BlackRock and other prominent firms. Crypto believers see validation in the listing.
“I really believe in the underlying ideology of crypto,” said Bradley Tusk, CEO of Tusk Ventures and an early investor in Coinbase, adding:
“People don’t trust big institutions anymore – whether it’s the government, the church, the media – and they’re looking for a way to interact with like-minded people that doesn’t require them to have faith in institutions that are proven to not really look out for them.”