Shares of crypto-focused bank Silvergate Capital Corp. rose about 6% Monday after Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of the stock with an overweight rating and a $158 price target, indicating a 52% upside from the current price.
- “Silvergate gives bank investors a nearly pure-play way to participate in the rapid growth of the nascent cryptocurrency industry,” Morgan Stanley analyst Ken Zerbe wrote in a note.
- Zerbe wrote that he believes Silvergate should be valued based on its earnings growth rather than on comparisons to traditional banks and “slower-growing” banks, especially given its “minimal” credit risk. He highlighted that Silvergate has increased its earning asset balances by 434% over the last year to $12.1 billion with almost all of the growth coming from increasing the deposit balances of its digital currency customers.
- Silvergate Bank accepted a whopping $4.3 billion in new deposits from new and existing digital currency customers in the second quarter, the company announced in July.
- “Given the wide range of outcomes, both in terms of its growth potential and meaningful risk factors, SI has the widest risk-reward skew of our coverage, with a $300 bull case (189% upside) and a $40 bear case (61% downside,” Zerbe wrote, referring to Silvergate’s ticker symbol.
- Still, Zerbe noted that Silverage is one of the only banks that provides “payment solutions” to the cryptocurrency market and so increased competition may provide an alternative to the Silvergate Exchange Network, which could “materially” limit the number of new clients and slow deposit and fee income growth.
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