Just How Rich Are Donald Trump, President Biden and These Other Big Names? – Yahoo Finance

Posted: April 15, 2021 at 6:35 am


(Bloomberg) -- Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. soared above a $112 billion valuation in its trading debut Wednesday, then slipped back below its opening price as Bitcoin fell from record highs and tech stocks fell across the board.The massive valuation, which dwarfs more traditional financial companies including Intercontinental Exchange Group Inc. and Nasdaq Inc. itself, is a landmark moment for the crypto industry and for Coinbase, which was started almost a decade ago when few people had even heard of Bitcoin, and many exchanges were run by amateurs from their garages and homes.Coinbase shares traded at $332.99 apiece on Nasdaq at 2:56 p.m., after earlier climbing as high as $429.54. Bitcoin, which along with Ethereum made up 56% of Coinbases 2020 trading revenue, dipped below $62,000 after earlier hitting a record price.The early rally isnt just a mark of success for Coinbase, which was valued at just $8 billion in its most recent funding round in 2018. Its also a win for Nasdaq, which hosted its first direct listing after beating out the New York Stock Exchange for Coinbases debut. Coinbase is the biggest company to take the direct listing route to market.Coinbase Chief Financial Officer Alesia Haas said in an interview Wednesday morning that one of the reasons that the company picked Nasdaq was because the bourse offered the ticker symbol COIN, which wasnt part of the New York Stock Exchanges pitch.Ultimately that they had the ticker COIN, and that was a really great ticker for us to get, Haas said.Nasdaq on Tuesday set a reference price of $250 a share for Coinbases direct listing, a number thats a requirement for the stock to begin trading, but not a direct indicator of the companys potential market capitalization. Every major direct listing has so far opened significantly above its reference price, with Roblox shares debuting at $64 each - 42% higher than the number set by the exchange.Coinbase shares changed hands at a roughly $90 billion valuation in early March, Bloomberg News reported at the time, in what was one of the last chances for investors to trade its private stock before the company went public.Digital Currency Group founder Barry Silbert, whos built an empire that spans the crypto world, tweeted Tuesday that his shares would definitely not be changing hands at the reference price, in an early sign that the stock was set for a pop at the open.Direct listings are an alternative to a traditional initial public offering that has only been deployed a handful of times. Until Wednesday, every company to pursue one -- including Slack Technologies Inc., Palantir Technologies Inc. and most recently Roblox Corp. -- listed on the New York Stock Exchange.As well as the ticker, Nasdaqs ability to provide a private market for the shares, as well as services it offers such as investor relations work, were among its selling points to Coinbase, according to a person familiar with the matter.Appropriately for a company that in May said it was committing to a remote-first work culture and doesnt list a headquarters on its filing, Coinbases pitch meetings with Nasdaq happened virtually, the person added.We evaluated both NYSE and Nasdaq and ultimately felt that the Nasdaq platform was aligned with our value as a tech company, Haas said.In a direct listing, a companys shares begin trading without it issuing new shares to raise capital. That avoids diluting the shares and also, unlike a traditional IPO, often allows the companys existing investors to put their shares on the market without waiting for lockup period -- typically six months -- to expire.Luring Coinbase was a win for Nasdaq, whose years-long fight for a larger share of mega listings gained traction in the past year. Half of the 10 largest U.S. IPOs, excluding blank-check companies, were on on Nasdaq, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That included the third largest, Airbnb Inc.s $3.8 billion IPO in December, which was the biggest listing on Nasdaq since Facebook Inc.s $16 billion monolith in 2012.Crypto UpstartsPutting his trust in the stock exchange is Coinbase Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong, who started the company with Fred Ehrsam in 2012. Unlike most rivals, Coinbases founders always envisioned strict regulatory compliance as a cornerstone of the operation, which has helped the exchange to grow in the U.S., where many early Bitcoin traders and investors were located.Ehrsam left the company in 2017, and is now investing in crypto startups. Both Armstrong and Ehrsam own huge swaths of Coinbase.Coinbase last week said it expects to report a first-quarter profit of $730 million to $800 million, more than double what it earned in all of 2020.They are going to build out a full financial services company, said Barry Schuler, a co-founder of Coinbase investor DFJ Growth who until last year sat on the companys board. Like a crypto version of a Goldman Sachs or a Morgan Stanley.Skeptics, RegulationThe companys rapid growth hasnt been without controversy, ranging from frequent outages during periods of heavy trading to new restrictions Armstrong placed on employee discussions of politics last fall. In March, Coinbase also settled with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for $6.5 million, after the agency said the company reported inaccurate data about transactions and that a former employee engaged in improper trades.Then there are the crypto skeptics, as well as the regulators around the world who are stepping up oversight and casting doubt on Bitcoins usefulness as a currency.European Central Bank executive board member Isabel Schnabel, in an interview this month with Der Spiegel, called Bitcoin a speculative asset without any recognizable fundamental value.A publicly traded Coinbase was unimaginable several years back when Wall Street was full of crypto bears including JPMorgan Chase & Co.s Jamie Dimon, who once called Bitcoin a fraud.Dimon later said he regretted saying that. His bank as well as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. advised on Coinbases direct listing.I dont think we sought Wall Streets approval but we did seek to bring more transparency to crypto and to introduce crypto to more and more users, Coinbases Hass said.Crypto PartnersWall Street can become trader of crypto. They are going to be partners of us going forward, she said.Coinbases early investors are celebrating.I think Coinbase is this decades Microsoft, Netscape, Google or Facebook, Garry Tan, founder and managing partner at Initialized Capital and an early-stage Coinbase investor, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television Tuesday.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Just How Rich Are Donald Trump, President Biden and These Other Big Names? - Yahoo Finance

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