New York: Bitcoin breached the $64,000 level for the first time as investor demand for all things crypto surged amid Coinbase Global Inc.'s public debut.
The direct listing of the biggest U.S. crypto exchange is seen pushing tokens even more into the mainstream of investing, exposing legions of potential buyers to the digital asset class that have grown into a $2 trillion industry in little more than a decade. Bitcoin, the original and biggest crypto coin, is valued at more than $1 trillion alone after a more than 800 per cent surge in the past year.
Other digital assets also advanced on Wednesday. Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, climbed to a record, while Bitcoin Cash jumped more than 10 per cent at one point. The cryptocurrency Dogecoin surged following an endorsement from TV personality Guy Fieri. And exchange tokens, such as Binance Coin, also saw their value rise, with BNB, as it's known, gaining 3%, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
If Coinbase is valued at $100 billion as expected, it would be worth more than the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market combined. Given its size and visibility, Coinbase is likely to be popular with actively managed equity funds, particularly growth managers, essentially making a large swath of stock holders passive investors in crypto.
"It's a huge step forward for the industry and the legitimacy it brings in the eyes of investors and regulators," Mati Greenspan, founder of Quantum Economics, said on Bloomberg TV.
Growing mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrencies has spurred Bitcoin to a 120% rally since December, as well as lifting other tokens to record highs. That's despite lingering concerns over their volatility and usefulness as a method of payment. Attention from regulators is poised to intensify as Coinbase becomes a public company.
"As the direct listing on the Nasdaq will reach a wider investment base other than the usual crypto evangelists, investors must expect much greater government scrutiny," said Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group.
The token was volatile during the morning, climbing as much as 2.7 per cent to $64,869. It has risen for seven straight sessions, its longest winning streak since the start of the year.