Coinbase Global Inc. fetched an $85 billion valuation in its stock market debut Wednesday, a watershed moment for an industry that began a decade ago as an experiment in digital money.
Shares of Coinbase, the first major bitcoin-focused company to test the U.S. public market, opened at $381 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. They rose as high as $429.54 in the first few minutes of trading and ended the session at $328.28. Coinbase went public through a direct listing under the ticker symbol COIN.
The exchange had set a reference price of $250 on Tuesday, but no trades were executed at that price. While Coinbase was last valued at about $8 billion in a 2018 fundraising round, some analysts had projected its valuation could top $100 billion based on private market trading. It surpassed that level Wednesday before pulling back.
Investors should take the whipsaw moves as an indication of how this stock might trade, said Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives.
“This is going to be a roller coaster,” he said, adding that there would be many investors trading in and out of the shares. “Right now the Street is still trying to put goal posts around the valuation,” Mr. Ives said.