- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are rising to record levels ahead of the direct offering of crypto exchange Coinbase.
- The offering is expected to be a watershed moment for cryptos, attracting new investors and encouraging other crypto-related entities to go public.
- How the crypto currencies react in the aftermath of the offering could set the tone for weeks to come.
- "It's sort of feeding on itself. They're less likely to sell crypto because they think Coinbase is going to help it. It's a self-reinforcing dynamic," said Fundstrat's Tom Lee.
Bitcoin was trading up more than 5% Tuesday, above $63,220, according to Coin Metrics. Coinbase's direct listing is expected to be a watershed moment for the crypto world and is likely to result in new offerings from other crypto-related entities. Coinbase is expected to price upwards of $60 billion and to as much as $100 billion.
"I'm not surprised the cryptos are running. Part of this is for the crypto community, nobody wants to be selling in front of the Coinbase offering," said Fundstrat founder Tom Lee. "In the crypto market, if the sellers are on a selling hiatus, the price is going to keep going up...It's kind of like you have a selling strike in front of the listing."
Other cryptocurrencies also surged. Ether, for one, was trading at a new high Wednesday. It was up 6.7% at $2,280, according to Coin Metrics. Analysts said the Coinbase debut is driving interest in the entire crypto universe, luring in new investors and likely encouraging other entities related to the market to issue their own stock.
"We're finding as the market awaits this IPO what we're seeing is investors talking more about bitcoin as a hedge against the potential for higher inflation and the debasing of the dollar and the extreme amounts of government spending and government debt," said Julian Emanuel, head of equity and derivatives strategy at BTIG.
Emanuel said how bitcoin reacts this week could set the tone in the cryptocurrency market for weeks to come. He said there was substantial resistance at $62,000, which it has now blown through, and there is solid support at its 50-day moving average, near $54,900.
"We will note the whole space has run a very long way. There are signs in the last week or two there's a little bit of indigestion in the NFT [nonfungible tokens] market. We've seen a discount to NAV in one of the more established trust products," Emanuel said. "All of these things tell us if you are looking to make a short-term trade on the rising price of bitcoin or ether, or whatever have you, based on the success of this week's capital markets activity, that's not a good reason to own something that has dropped 30%, 40%, 50% and already has done so on a couple of occasions."
The value of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust is below the value of the digital assets it holds, and an activist family office, Marlton LLC has sent a letter to Grayscale Investments seeking a tender offter to boost the price, according to a Bloomberg report.
If bitcoin holds its gains after the Coinbase offer, that would be a positive for crypto assets. "The long term story is very positive and...if in fact, digital assets hold in or continue to rally after the [Coinbase offering] is out and digested, it's an even more positive reflection of the embracing of digital assets' long-term potential."
Lee said he doesn't know how bitcoin and others will trade after the Coinbase offer, but the rise in the cryptocurrencies is driving more interest in the crypto exchange.
"It's sort of feeding on itself. They're less likely to sell crypto because they think Coinbase is going to help it. It's a self-reinforcing dynamic," said Lee.
Coinbase would be valued more than Nasdaq, which has a market cap of $25.9 billion and probably the Interncontinental Exchange, valued at more than $66.9 billion.
He said it is a positive for the currency market that Coinbase is going public. "They make more money than any publicly listed exchange in the world. They'll make more money than Nasdaq...Coinbase is also not the most profitable cyrpto exchange in the world," Lee said.
From a chart perspective, bitcoin does look set for more gains.
Katie Stockton, chief technical strategist at Fairlead Strategies, said she had been looking for a breakout for bitcoin above $61,742, which was the March high. It broke that level earlier on Wednesday.
"If bitcoin accomplishes this, a measured move projection would target $69,121 with a short-term time horizon," she wrote. If it doesn't hold that level, the 50-day moving average could provide support, she noted.