The pointless obsession with mainstream
Yesterday was kind of a big deal in the Crypto space.
As you likely already know, Coinbase (COIN: Nasdaq) went public. It was the first major IPO offering in the Crypto industry and, predictably, it triggered a flood of articles and commentary around the world asking What Does it All Mean?
I’ll get back to that in a second, but first a quick wrap of how things went down yesterday.
Coinbase opened at $381 USD a share, which was considerably higher than the $250 reference point set by Nasdaq the day before. It immediately spiked to $429, before the money started to get pulled out. It fell to $310 before ending the day on a bit of a rally. It closed at $328.29.
That put the company’s value at a cool $85.7 billion, which is more than 10 times its final valuation as a private company.
Not surprisingly, the attention the listing created also drove Bitcoin itself up on the day. It broke the $63,000 barrier and got to a record high of $63,707.34 in the early afternoon. It closed at $62,624.25.
Now, to get back to the What Does It All Mean question…
Yeah, your guess is as good as mine. This is not a stock tip space. I have more self-respect than to try and convince you that I have a better idea than you do about what’s going to happen in the future. We all should make our own choices and trade with caution.
I think it’s fair to be pretty bullish on the long-term investment possibilities in the space, but my focus is more on what it means for society, not my wallet.
And, it’s pretty exciting – what it might mean for society. Emphasis of the word ‘might,’ there.
Much of the focus on the IPO in the traditional media has been to ask the question of whether it was a sign that Crypto has “finally gone mainstream.” It’s kind of an elusive question to answer and also the wrong question to ask.
What’s “mainstream?” Does it mean that people are aware of it? If that’s the case than there is little doubt that it’s mainstream. Stand-up comedians make jokes about Crypto. There are memes about it. Politicians talk about it with stern faces of contemplation.
If that’s the measure, It’s mainstream. It probably has been for a while.
However, if the question is “Does this mean that Crypto is fully accepted as a legitimate part of the financial market?” then we are having a different conversation.
It’s getting there and Coinbase’s IPO was a significant step, but there is still a ways to go. Those stand-up comedians and memes are usually making fun of Crypto investors and the politicians are generally trying to control or squash the enthusiasm around it.
That’s if we’re lucky. In large parts of the world those politicians would be trying to outright ban Crypto.
So, does Coinbase’s IPO mean that Crypto has gone mainstream?
It depends. That’s not a satisfying answer or the bases of a quick hit on the local media, but it’s the correct answer.
Ultimately the question is pointless. As illustrated above, being mainstream is meaningless until Crypto gains acceptance. And that won’t happen with any single act or moment.
Not even one that gains mainstream attention.