Coinbase made its public debut on Wednesday, a week after preliminarily reporting a ninefold increase in first-quarter revenue to an estimated $1.8 billion. The company closed the day with a market cap of nearly $86 billion.
Crypto evangelists say the long-term value of Coinbase will come from a shift in the structure of finance and online marketplaces.
Experts share what they're watching.
Jill Carlson, venture partner at Slow Ventures, said it all comes back to growth.
"The name of the game is absolutely growth, growth, growth here, and I think on top of that you also have to look at just the dynamics around the stock. It has sort of meme stock potential on the retail side, and then for a lot of institutions, this is going to be their first ability to have a real foray into the crypto space, for a lot of institutions that have been blocked out of buying bitcoin, but I do think it comes back to growth. I think that the metrics that I looked at when they announced their quarter one earnings a few weeks back came down to their MTUs, monthly transacting users, and then also just their transaction volumes and talk about a blockbuster quarter."
Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity Digital Assets, called this a "watershed moment."
"This was a watershed moment for this industry and you can pick your analogous reference point – was it the Netscape IPO in 1995, which heralded the advent of e-commerce and the internet? Could be. ... It's bringing a huge amount of attention to the industry and the work that Coinbase and we and others are doing. It's giving equity investors and others insight into the new asset class, how it works and what some of the long-term implications are for the industry. It's also driving … venture investment into the space as well as interest from larger institutions that are suddenly waking up to this notion that there is a new digital asset class here emerging and clients of all stripes will want access to it so I think it's a tremendous historical milestone for the industry and an industry we're very proud to be part of."
Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder, described the importance of Coinbase's focus on crypto.
"This company's DNA from the very beginning was around crypto. Everything they've done intentionally, whether it's on the security side, whether it's on the product side, the user experience, all of that has very much got the ethos of making it as easy as possible to access these markets, to get into crypto, to be that on-ramp, and you really can't overstate the importance of that kind of product focus, whereas for everyone else they're finding ways now to build this into their way of doing business. Oftentimes, I mean, this is a lot of heavy lifting in software, that is easier said than done. I do think over time more and more institutions are going to want more and more access to this asset class. ... And I think because Coinbase has always been from day one a crypto company, it's going to continue to give them an edge, but it's all good overall for the market."
Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money," sets a target for Coinbase stock.
"This is the scarcity value one, and I wouldn't be surprised if it ultimately gets to $600. … The way to play bitcoin if you're a mutual fund will not be Square anymore, it's too derivative. It will be Coinbase."
Michael Novogratz, chairman and CEO of Galaxy Digital, explained the importance of Wednesday's debut.
"This is like the Netscape moment for the crypto currency economy. Remember Netscape in 1995, four years before we had this crazy frenzy, basically signaled the beginning of the internet age. This is a really important day for the whole crypto world. This is saying this is an asset class and it's an asset class that's here to stay. And so, listen, it's somewhat irrelevant where Coinbase trades today. There have been people that are long it that I'm sure want to take profits, but mostly institutions are going to come flooding into this space and we're seeing it every day."