Jefferies Initiates Coverage of Crypto Exchange Coinbase With ‘Hold’ Rating on Near-Term Concerns

The exchange has staying power due to its healthy balance sheet, a proactive approach to regulatory compliance, sensible risk management and legitimacy as a public company, the report said.

AccessTimeIconJan 9, 2023 at 2:44 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 9, 2023 at 3:48 p.m. UTC

Coinbase’s (COIN) premium brand as an onshore and regulated entity with a healthy balance sheet should enable the crypto exchange to weather the fallout from the collapse of rival FTX, Jefferies said in a research report Monday.

The broker initiated coverage of the stock with a hold rating and a $35 price target. The rating comes after rival broker Cowen downgraded the shares, which slumped 86% last year, to market perform from outperform on Thursday, citing a lack of clarity on a possible recovery in trading volumes following the collapse of FTX. Coinbase shares rose 14% in early trading to $37.94.

“The fallout from FTX has called into question the safety, security and legitimacy of the broader crypto ecosystem,” the report said, worsening an already difficult operating environment, as retail trading volumes slumped along with crypto prices.

Coinbase will be “acutely pressured in the near term” as its retail customer base trades less frequently in the bear market, but the company has staying power due to its healthy balance sheet with over $5 billion in cash, it's proactive approach to regulatory compliance, prudent risk management and its legitimacy as a publicly listed and audited company, the note said.

The competitive landscape will be less crowded for Coinbase post-FTX, but Jefferies still expects a top-line miss in the fourth quarter due to lower retail trading volumes. The company is likely to report fourth-quarter results toward the end of February, based on previous patterns.

UPDATE (Jan. 9, 15:47 UTC): Adds concerns to headline, Coinbase shares' performance last year in second paragraph.


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Will Canny is CoinDesk's finance reporter.