New Zealand investors jump into Coinbase IPO

Kiwi investors appear to have jumped on board the Nasdaq debut of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global.

Figures from Australian investment platform Stake show its New Zealand customers invested US$1.17 million into Coinbase stock while Kiwi platform Hatch saw around 300 investors plough US$1.2m into the stock in just four and a half hours of trading.

Coinbase’s stock opened at US$381 a share, up 52 per cent from a reference price of US$250 per share set on Tuesday.

However, the price was only 10.9 per cent above the US$343.58 volume-weighted average price Coinbase’s shares were trading at privately in the first quarter of 2021.

At US$381 a share, Coinbase was valued at close to US$100b.

Founded in 2012, the San Francisco-based firm boasts 56 million users globally and an estimated US$223 billion assets on its platform, accounting for 11.3 per cent of crypto asset market share, regulatory filings showed.

Kristen Lunman, co-founder and general manager of Hatch, said the IPO had proved popular although not as popular as the 2020 IPO of Snowflake.

“It was likely double that.”

Lunman said the interest in Coinbase was driven by a wider acceptance of cryptocurrency and its growth prospects.

She said the Coinbase listing allowed people to get access to an exposure to cryptocurrency without having to buy cryptocurrency itself.

Lunman said some of its investors liked to jump in on day one of a company’s IPO on an expectation of there being a pop in the share price, while others would sit back and wait for a buying opportunity.

She expected the stock’s share price to be volatile.

Stake founder and chief executive Matt Leibowitz said interest in Coinbase from its New Zealand clients had been 20 times higher than any recent US IPOs and around half of the investors through its platform were aged 25 to 35 years old.

“They get the proposition – they probably use Coinbase or something similar and they understand the utility it provides.”

He said Coinbase had a strong global following and was highly profitable as well.

“It represents exposure to the cryptocurrency space within your stock portfolio plus a company that is clearly performing in terms of its generation of cash. It is not a start-up any more. It’s not one of those ones where you worry about when they are ever going to make money.”

He said Stake had some inkling of the popularity of Coinbase ahead of the listing as it was the most common question on its customer support team – ‘is Coinbase going to be available from day one?’.

“I think what you are seeing with younger investors is that they maybe dabbling in cryptocurrency to try and get exposure where as the stock has got a little bit more legitimacy to it. So people feel more comfortable with it. It is quite an attractive proposition.”

He said the average investment was also higher at US$3400 compared to its normal average of under US$1900.

Other US IPOs expected to be coming soon include trading platform Robinhood and WeWork, although the one likely to spur the most interest from Kiwi investors is Rocketlab, which is set to list in the second quarter of this year.

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