Bitcoin, Ether smash previous records ahead of Coinbase float Cryptocurrency

The world’s two largest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), have climbed to new all-time high prices.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is hovering at a valuation of circa $62,800 per unit, down from a peak of $64,830. Ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, is currently trading at $2,340 after significant overnight gains.

This escalation in price is consistent across the market, with all manner of different altcoins also experiencing sharp growth.

The current state of play is the culmination of a crypto bull run (or period of growth) that extends back to November last year, at which point Bitcoin was valued at just $16,500 and Ether at $600.

However, this most recent frenzy can be attributed in large part to events at Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange, which is set to go public via direct listing today.

Coinbase listing

Coinbase Global Inc. will debut on Nasdaq later today under the stock ticker “COIN”. 

As opposed to going public via IPO, the company has opted for an alternative method pioneered by the likes Slack and Palantir: direct listing. Under this system, only existing shares are made available for purchase and there is no lockup period to prevent investors from selling off stock as soon as trading begins.

Although Coinbase has been assigned a reference price of $250 per share (valuing the company at $47 billion), these estimates are traditionally conservative. The full picture will remain unclear until trading begins in earnest, but commentators have suggested the listing could hand Coinbase a valuation of more than $100 billion dollars.

The decision to take the company public, announced last month, came off the back of a record period of growth. An earnings report published in advance of the listing revealed Coinbase saw a massive 117% rise in active users in Q1, compared to the previous quarter.

During the first three months of the year, the company made a profit of between $730-800 million, more than double the $322 million profit recorded for the whole of 2020.

In a blog post ahead of the listing, CEO Brian Armstrong thanked Coinbase employees and customers, as well as Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the original Bitcoin whitepaper. He also gestured towards the company’s hopes for the future of the crypto ecosystem.

“Today’s listing is a milestone, but it’s not as important as every new day in front of us,” wrote Armstrong. “Everyone deserves access to financial services that can help them build a better life for themselves and their families. We have a lot of hard work to do to make this a reality.”

“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 experiences for you, our community.”

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