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Bitcoin’s Price, Trading Volume, And Crypto Unicorns

As we recently wrote, cryptocurrencies like the popular bitcoin have enjoyed a return-to-form in recent weeks. The prices of bitcoin and other well-known blockchain-based assets have risen this summer, leading to a seeming rise in media attention and growth in trading volume.

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Both are bullish for companies operating in the cryptocurrency space. There’s historical precedent for cryptocurrency companies in the trading game performing well when crypto prices appreciate. As there’s a pretty direct correlation between the price of bitcoin et al and trading appetite; when the price of cryptocurrencies rise, trading revenues presumably grow as well.

In the late-2017 crypto bull run Coinbase stacked huge revenues and profits, for example. Later, the company would raise off those results, adding to both its bank balance and valuation. Other firms rode the same wave, including Bitmain, which later had to pull its public offering after swinging from profits to losses.

So, when the price of bitcoin recently appreciated from the $3,000s in January to the $5,000s by April to $13,000 in July to a more modest $10,560 today, I was waiting for the impact of the price run to show up elsewhere.

This morning we got a little taste. Recall that we noted above that a rising price of cryptocurrency and related assets leads to a rise in trading volume of the same entities. Here’s a chart from The Block’s Frank Chaparro citing his colleague Larry Cermak who used data from their own publication, along with information from CoinGecko:

There are two things that we care about in the chart this morning. First, as expected trading volume has risen as the price of bitcoin and its subordinate crypto co-constituents have appreciated. And, second, that Coinbase has seen (according to this dataset) its trading volume rise sharply in recent months.

As Coinbase has a sliding fee structure for what it calls “Buy/Sell Transactions” we can presume that the higher trading volume is leading to revenue growth for the American crypto-focused unicorn. The last price that we have for Coinbase is an $8.0 billion post-money valuation, meaning that the seven-year-old company has lots to live up to in revenue and profit terms.

Given the above chart, it seems like Coinbase, along with a host of smaller crypto-focused companies, is likely enjoying a welcome business boost after a turn in the wilderness after the most recent crypto bust.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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