The Business Times

Bitcoin touches US$64,000 high as traders eye Coinbase listing

Published Wed, Apr 14, 2021 · 03:08 PM

[HONG KONG] Bitcoin advanced on Wednesday, breaching the US$64,000 level for the first time after eclipsing its most recent record in March a day earlier as the mood in cryptocurrencies turned bullish ahead of Coinbase Global's listing this week.

The token climbed as much as 1.6 per cent to as high as US$64,207 in Asia trading. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks such as Riot Blockchain and Marathon Digital Holdings advanced during US trading hours.

Crypto bulls are out in force as a growing list of companies embrace Bitcoin, even as sceptics doubt the durability of the boom. In one of the most potent signs of Wall Street's growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies, Coinbase will list on the Nasdaq on April 14 at a valuation of about US$100 billion.

Coinbase's debut "will mark the first official juncture between the traditional financial avenue and the alternative crypto path", Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. "As such, a successful addition to Nasdaq should act as endorsement of cryptocurrencies by traditional investors."

Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley have announced plans to offer their clients access to crypto investments. Tesla earlier this year disclosed a US$1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin and more recently started accepting it as payment for electric cars.

Still, sceptics argue that digital coins have been inflated by stimulus that's also sent stocks to records. Regulators around the world are stepping up oversight and casting doubt on its usefulness as a currency.

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Isabel Schnabel, member of the executive board of the European Central Bank, called Bitcoin "a speculative asset without any recognisable fundamental value" in an interview with Der Spiegel this month.

Coinbase's public debut this week is also boosting the digital coins of other cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Binance Coin, which has jumped to become the third-most valuable cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin and Ether.

Many analysts expect the rally to continue.

"The lowest 30-day volatility since October tells us Bitcoin is ripe to exit its cage and continue in a bull market on its way to the next US$10,000 move," according to Mike McGlone, Bloomberg Intelligence commodities strategist. "Similar to Tesla's equity-wealth allocation to Bitcoin, the Coinbase IPO (initial public offering) may add to the growing list of 2021 crypto-validation milestones."

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