Bitcoin price gains lift Coinbase and Marathon Digital Holdings stocks

Bitcoin had a monster February. Its value jumped more than 40% since the beginning of the month, and it’s been surging to heights not seen since 2020 seemingly everyday. But investing in the cryptocurrency itself would not have been the most lucrative trade to make: The trading exchange Coinbase and the miner Marathon Digital Holdings both outperformed the coin, to the tune of 59% and 45% gains, respectively.

They’re riding a renewed wave of enthusiasm for bitcoin that is sending related stocks higher as well.

Late last month, bitcoin was dipping below $40,000 after a monster 2023. Investors were rejiggering things following U.S. securities regulator approval of spot ETFs that would make indirect investing easier. But then they found their footing in a big way. By the end of the first week of February, bitcoin was at $47,000. Then it was passing $50,000. On Tuesday, it was at $57,000. It crossed $61,000 on Thursday.

Plus, the so-called “halving” is coming. That will reduce the bitcoin awarded to the computers that solve the complex math problems that unearth new bitcoin. That usually presents a boon to bitcoin holders as increased interest typically sends the price of the asset higher.

There’s been so much hype for the cryptocurrency that Coinbase actually had an outage Wednesday. “Due to increased traffic, some customers may still see errors in login, sends, receives and with some payment methods,” the company told users. Mindful of everything that’s gone wrong with bitcoin exchanges in the last couple years, Coinbase added that “rest assured your funds are safe.”

ETFs are a BFD

It’s not just the industry’s pure players that are seeing the benefits of more investors jumping into bitcoin. On an earnings call earlier this month, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group told investors that trading activity in its cryptocurrency futures products had jumped four-fold since the fall as big market players anticipate more interest in the bitcoin ETFs.

Likewise, the trading platform Robinhood told analysts the same day that one in 20 of its bitcoin investors are getting into the cryptocurrency through an ETF. When the company was asked whether they were traders who had made the jump from buying bitcoin directly, CFO Jason Warnick said that it was actually a new cohort of investors jumping on.

“We feel really good to offer the selection for customers,” he said. “We think it increases overall market interest in crypto and also brings liquidity to the market. So, net-net, we’re really pleased with the bitcoin ETFs.”

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