Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) shares pop and drop in debut

Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) hits the public market. The journey has been long, but the crypto exchanges ambitions are just getting started.

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Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ: COIN) officially listed on the NASDAQ exchange last night. The debut was anything but boring, with the Coinbase share price demonstrating plenty of volatility.

From the open, the cryptocurrency exchange began trading at US$381 per share – representing a 52% premium to its debut listing price of US$250. The company's shares then quickly proceeded to rally to an intraday high of US$429. Unfortunately for new shareholders jumping in, it was downhill from there. Coinbase gradually slid 23% from its high to close its first day at US$328.28 – 31% above its reference price.

A long journey to the beginning

Motivated by the mission to make cryptocurrency easy to use, Coinbase has gone from a startup working out of a small San Francisco loft, to the first major crypto exchange publicly listed.

When the company originally was founded by Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was worth US$6 a coin. Roughly 9 years later, the original digital currency is now worth US$62,825 a coin.

Over those years, Coinbase has worked on building a more fair, accessible, efficient, and transparent financial system made possible by cryptocurrency. But it hasn't been a straightforward path.

Given the speculative nature of Bitcoin, the company rode the violent Bitcoin price rollercoaster. The bear markets being particularly difficult. Between 2014 and 2017 Coinbase lost over a third of its employees, with many thinking the digital currency was dead.

Despite the challenges, Coinbase has pulled through, riding the Bitcoin wave to new heights. Although, Coinbase believes that it's only the beginning.

Coinbase shares in Bitcoin's ambition

Co-founder, Brian Armstrong sees plenty of opportunities still to come for the company. Like the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, Armstrong wants to create economic freedom through Coinbase and cryptocurrency.

In a tweet today, Armstrong pointed out that increased economic freedom correlates with higher gross domestic product growth and life expectancy, among other advantageous attributes.

It will be interesting to see how Coinbase navigates future uncharted waters. The higher unpredictability creates a whole new level of uncertainty for investing in Coinbase shares, not to mention regulatory issues. For now, we can acknowledge that last night marked a watershed moment for the crypto-ecosystem. 

After the volatile share price movements, Coinbase's market capitalisation finished its first day at US$85.8 billion.

Mitchell Lawler owns shares of Bitcoin. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Bitcoin. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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