Coinbase, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges, went public on Wednesday. The highly anticipated direct listing gave the eight-year-old company a valuation of $86 billion, making it one of the most valuable U.
The listing was a victory for Coinbase, which had to scramble to get ready for public trading after initially planning to go public through a traditional initial public offering. The process was further complicated by the volatile prices of cryptocurrencies, which are notoriously difficult to value.
But despite the challenges, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said he was excited to begin trading on the NAsdaq exchange. “This is a landmark event for Coinbase and for the cryptoeconomy,” he said in a statement.
Coinbase’s debut comes as Bitcoin, the best-known cryptocurrency, has surged in value this year. The digital currency topped $63,000 on Wednesday, just hours before Coinbase’s listing.
Investors have been eager to get in on the action, and Coinbase’s listing is likely to only intensify that demand. The company is one of the most well-known and respected names in the cryptocurrency industry, and its public debut is likely to legitimize cryptocurrencies even further.
Coinbase’s listing is also likely to pave the way for other cryptocurrency companies to go public. Ethereum, Ripple and Stellar are all considering going public through direct listings or traditional IPOs, and Wednesday’s debut is likely to make those plans even more attractive.
So is Coinbase a good stock? For now, it seems like a safe bet. The company is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies, and its listing is likely to only increase demand for its products and services.