The bitcoin bull market rages on: The price of one bitcoin is back above $60,000, and not far from its all-time high, as investors gear up for this week’s eagerly awaited direct listing of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global.
Bitcoin has more than doubled this year, and it represents just over half of the overall cryptocurrency market’s value of nearly $2.1 trillion. That’s only slightly less than the market value of Apple.
Coinbase’s debut, set for Wednesday, could be a catalyst for the recent bitcoin and broader crypto surge. Coinbase is profitable and has reported strong revenue growth, and that could further help validate crypto buying and selling as a business.
Based on recent private stock trades for Coinbase, the company is valued at a stunning level of nearly $68 billion. To put that into context, it’s a little bit more than the market value of New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange.
“The Coinbase direct listing is a major milestone for the crypto industry. It will allow investors to gain exposure to the business without having to own actual cryptocurrencies,” said Carlos Domingo, CEO of Securitize, a digital asset securities firm.
Bitcoin isn’t the only digital currency that’s surging: Ethereum has nearly tripled this year thanks in part to its role as the primary method of payment used for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. It’s now worth about $250 billion.
“Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are like digital gold as more and more assets are becoming digitalized and tokenized,” said Li Jun, founder of Ontology, a blockchain firm. “Cryptocurrencies are going to become even more important.”
That trend builds on the mainstreaming of bitcoin as more large corporations are embracing it. Elon Musk’s Tesla has decided to invest some of its corporate cash in bitcoin. Shares of Silvergate Capital, a bank that specializes in crypto-backed loans and deposits, have more than doubled this year.
And software firm MicroStrategy, whose chairman and CEO Michael Saylor is one of the biggest bitcoin evangelists, announced Monday that it will start to pay fees to directors of the company’s board who are not employees in bitcoin instead of cash.
MicroStrategy said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the decision to pay some directors in bitcoin was due to the belief that bitcoin can “serve as a store of value, supported by a robust and public open-source architecture, untethered to sovereign monetary policy.”