Coinbase is poised to command an astronomical valuation when the digital currency exchange goes public on Wednesday. But ask 10 market experts how the company should be valued, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers.
That’s because Coinbase’s current business — the one that produced a whopping $1.8 billion of estimated revenue in the first quarter and up to $800 million in net income — is built almost entirely on the performance of Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Those cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed more than 800% and 1,300% respectively in the past year. As a result, Coinbase, the most popular place for U.S. investors to purchase those assets, has grown ninefold over that stretch.
Should Coinbase hit the public market around its latest private market valuation of $100 billion, taking into account a fully diluted share count, it would instantly be one of the 85 most valuable U.S. companies.
Here’s the key question for investors ahead of the Nasdaq debut: What happens when a crypto company with historically anomalous growth, massive uncertainty and no official headquarters clashes with the rigors of Wall Street and familiar metrics such as price-to-sales and price-to-earnings ratios?
“Valuing any start-up can be challenging, but I think the issue of valuation is far more complex with a company like Coinbase,