Bitcoin surged above $60,000 today after US regulators approved the stock market listing of Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange. The landmark decision from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a major boon to the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies and helped Bitcoin edge closer to its all-time high of over $61,000 achieved last month. Bitcoin rose by more than 2 per cent to $60,103 this morning, from Thursday’s close of $58,728, before settling back at around $59,000 in afternoon trading on Friday. Last night, Coinbase – which made a regulatory filing to go public in February – said that the SEC had approved its application to list in New York. The company, which has been valued privately at around $68billion, expects its shares to start trading on the Nasdaq on 14 April. It plans to go public through a ‘direct’ listing rather than an initial public offering, or IPO.
Under traditional IPOs, companies raise money by selling new shares, while using a direct listing means that no new stock is sold and existing shareholders can sell their shares. It also means that shares are listed directly on an exchange without a prior sale to institutional investors. Founded in 2012, San Francisco-based Coinbase is among the most well-known cryptocurrency platforms globally and has more than 43million users in over 100 countries. For the year to 31 December, the company pulled in total revenue of $1.3billion, compared with $533.7million the year before. It also reported net income of $322.3million, compared with a loss of $30.4million during the same period last year.
News of its stock market listing approval helped lift Bitcoin, which rose by around 12 per cent over the past week after card payment giant Visa said it would allow the use of another digital currency, USD Coin, on its payment network. Meanwhile, PayPal started allowing US consumers to use their cryptocurrency holdings to pay its millions of global online merchants. Bitcoin’s ascent is often put down to purchases by institutional investors and big corporations like Elon Musk’s Tesla, which in February revealed it had snapped up $1.5billion of the cryptocurrency. The world’s most popular cryptocurrency ended 2020 up more than 300 per cent, hit an all-time high of $61,080 in mid-March and has risen by almost 800 per cent over the past twelve months.