Coinbase soars in market debut, valued near US$100 billion

The San Francisco-based company’s listing on a public stock exchange is seen by some as an inflection point for digital currencies, as Coinbase’s fortunes are closely tied to Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency.

Coinbase’s value is close to the combined market value of Nasdaq Inc., which runs the Nasdaq Stock Market, and Intercontinental Exchange, which owns the New York Stock Exchange.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase became popular among cryptocurrency fans by providing them with an easier way to exchange shares of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Still, even as more companies warm up to digital currencies, there are many doubters.

If Bitcoin or Ethereum prices drop, the commissions Coinbase earns drop as well, giving it some exposure to the digital currencies’ rise and fall.

That means it avoided the typical agreements with big banks that would buy thousands of shares and promote them.

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