Citi initiated coverage of Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) Tuesday with a buy rating and $415 price target, saying the crypto exchange “offers investors direct exposure to increased retail and institutional adoption” of digital assets..
“For its position within the crypto value chain, a `networking-based’ business model and strategy, the undeniably very large opportunity set … yes, we believe COIN is investable,” analyst Peter Christiansen wrote in a report. Investors should “buy crypto’s general store,” he said.
Citi sees additional potential upside for the stock as the company expands its business beyond facilitating transactions.
The U.S. bank also sees the exchange’s “lean forward approach to regulatory compliance” as a prospective competitive advantage in the longer term and says that not all regulation should be seen as harmful. ”To a degree, we think rising regulations could be a positive for Coinbase’s competitive positioning, particularly versus business models that predominantly rely on markets being unregulated,” Citi said.
The stock and the company’s financial performance will both “likely incur a high degree of volatility” as Coinbase’s business model is directly correlated to the price of major crypto assets, Citi cautioned. That volatility makes forecasting and budgeting the business more difficult.
Citi is positive on the long-term outlook for blockchain technology and crypto markets in general and says that “the form of the so-called crypto economy will likely remain in debate for some time, though its proliferation, driven by an exceptionally large opportunity, is here to stay, in our view.”
Coinbase shares closed at $325.54 on Monday, 27% below Citi’s price target.