Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase almost reached a $100bn market cap on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq. For anyone keeping score, that’s above the $86.32bn market cap currently enjoyed by oil giant BP.
The direct listing on Wednesday saw Coinbase open at $381 per share. The stock fell very slightly over the day and was trading at $330 at the close.
Coinbase’s debut follows a year of unprecedented growth for cryptocurrencies. The price of Bitcoin has surged more than 300% over the last 12 months, hitting another record at $63,000 on Tuesday. Other cryptocurrencies have enjoyed similar success over the year. Market analysts have speculated that Coinbase’s listing could push the price of these digital currencies even higher.
The growing popularity of cryptocurrencies has also been fuelled by a wider acceptance among investors and the public. For instance, electric automaker Tesla announced that it had invested $1.5bn in Bitcoin in February. Uber has also said it is open to the idea of enabling crypto payments for rides.
More traditional payment companies are also increasingly considering making cryptocurrencies part of their services, as outlined in the Thematic Research: Mobile Payments 2020 report by GlobalData.
As the popularity of Bitcoin and other digital currencies skyrocket, environmentalist commentators have warned that the electricity used to mine proof-of-work based currencies like Bitcoin results in a damaging carbon footprint. The BBC and others have even suggested that Bitcoin mining requires more energy than Argentina.
However, as Verdict pointed out in March, most of these analyses seem to miss out on the fact that most human energy use doesn’t involve electricity. Crypto mining accounts for a thousandth of global energy use: it is an insignificant factor in carbon emissions, and may well become even more so with a shift to proof-of-stake technology.