Coinbase’s November was a month to remember.
The crypto exchange giant’s share price skyrocketed more than 60%. COIN closed Thursday trading at $124.72, just short of its highest level since April 2022. It is up 271% since the start of the year when it was changing hands at just over $33.
Coinbase has benefited from rising optimism that a spot bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF) would receive approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and drive an increase in crypto prices, say analysts. Of separate note, among the 13 companies that have filed applications for these ETFs, nine have selected Coinbase as their custodian, a key function that ensures assets are secure.
Rival Binance’s Nov. 21 $4.3 billion penalty to settle a criminal investigation brought by the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has also seemed to boost share price, the analysts say, with some expecting Coinbase to pick up market share. In a separate agreement, Binance founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao pleaded guilty to violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and resigned as CEO.
As of late Thursday, Coinbase’s share price had risen more than 18% during this post-settlement period.
A Thaw in the Bear Market?
“Coinbase was already in the midst of a strong month when the [Binance] news broke, and the news seemingly only added fuel to the fire, propelling the stock,” Kaiko analyst Riyad Carey wrote in a newsletter this week. “The prevailing narrative is that the bear market is thawing, and Coinbase will be a major beneficiary of this change in conditions.”
To be sure, Carey wrote that “Binance remains the leader in liquidity, both for BTC and for altcoins,” and that “early trends look far from dire.”
But in a post on X (formerly Twitter) Thursday he wrote that “so far” Coinbase and Dubai-based exchange Bybit “are the two big winners after Binance’s settlement.”
— Riyad Carey (@riyad_carey) November 30, 2023
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Mizuho Financial Group Senior Analyst Dan Dolev increased his fourth quarter estimates for Coinbase’s trading volume to $130 billion from $108 billion, and for revenue to $871 million from $779 million.
“COIN shares are up more than 20% [at the time] since the Binance CEO reached a settlement with the U.S. DOJ on Nov. 21,” Dolev wrote. “We believe part of the rally is in anticipation of potential share gains for COIN in wake of outflows from Binance, the industry’s largest exchange.”
Earlier this month, Needham’s Principal of Crypto and Blockchain Research John Todaro reiterated his buy rating, noting that competitors FTX and Bittrex were gone, Binance was falling back and Coinbase was well-positioned to take advantage of a market upcycle.
In an interview Monday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, told CNBC that the Binance settlement might help the industry.
“It’s a good moment for us to kind of turn the page as an industry and recognize that building a company offshore, you know, skirting regulation, it’s just not going to work,” he said. “We’ve seen that now these high profile companies have really gone bust or ended up with regulatory enforcement actions as they should. And many of the companies that were trying to do it the right way and build from the early days in a responsible and legal and trusted manner, now they have the moment to really grow as they should.”