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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Cryptocurrency will come to Wall Street like never before when Coinbase becomes a publicly-traded company on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The listing could value the company at upwards of $100 billion.

  • The valuation will likely “raise tremendous eyebrows, but it'll be one of those kind of ‘OK, Boomer’ moments where if you don't believe in the cult, then the valuation will be mind-boggling for you,” says Hugh Tallents, a financial services consultant at CG42.

Words to watch tomorrow:

  • Direct listing: Unlike in a traditional IPO, Coinbase won’t sell new stock to a vetted group of big investors who then sell their shares into the market. Instead, the company will let current shareholders directly sell on the stock exchange from Day 1. It’s the first of its kind to happen on the Nasdaq.
  • Selling shareholders: People who already own Coinbase shares, including employees, get to sell from the start instead of being subject to the usual multi-month lockup with an IPO. This setup could also make the price volatile on the first day, though that didn't happen in prior direct listings for companies like Slack.
  • Reference price: This is the share price that the exchange estimates for the company’s stock, typically announced the night before the listing. It’s not an IPO price, so it’s not an actual selling price.

The big picture: The Coinbase listing catapults crypto into the mainstream and will be seen as a major test for the industry's legitimacy.

By the numbers: Bitcoin prices are at a record high. Exactly one year ago, you could buy one bitcoin for $6,880. Now it’ll cost you more than $59,000.

What it means: Boom times for Coinbase, whose Q1 numbers show revenue was 40 times higher in the first three months of this year than all of last year.

What they’re saying: “Investing in Coinbase is not for the faint of heart, as the business — and the stock — will likely see dramatic, potentially protracted, swings,” MoffettNathanson’s Lisa Ellis, one of the first on Wall Street to initiate coverage on the stock, wrote in a note today.

  • It’s worth noting, of course, that Ellis is still bullish on the stock.
  • Coinbase executives said last week it uses stretches of high profits to prepare its balance sheet for so-called "crypto winters."

One stat to go: Nearly three-fourths of fund managers say Bitcoin is in a bubble — compared with the 7% who say the same about the stock market, per a new Bank of America survey out today.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Apr 12, 2021 - Economy & Business

2021 saw more inflows to stocks than the past 12 years combined

Data: Bank of America; Chart: Axios Visuals

Money flowing to stocks globally in just the past five months ($576 billion) has exceeded the inflow seen over the prior 12 years by well over $100 billion, according to data from Bank of America Global Research.

Why it matters: It's further evidence that the sea change in investor psychology continues and has grown to a profound new level.

Judge temporarily blocks South Carolina ban on school mask mandates

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked South Carolina's ban on mask mandates in schools, ruling that it discriminated against students with disabilities and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Why it matters: As mask bans extend to public schools around the country, parents and disability rights activists have sounded alarm bells. The ruling may signal the outcomes of legal fights playing out across the country.

DeSantis takes legal action against Biden efforts on immigration

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took legal action on Tuesday to try to stop the Biden administration's immigration plans.

Why it matters: The Republican governor, who is running for re-election next year and is possibly eyeing a 2024 presidential bid, is picking a high-profile fight with Biden while re-upping his hardline stance on immigration.