Shares of Coinbase Global (COIN) , the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, on Thursday was upgraded to buy from neutral at Bank of America.
“The main fundamental reason for the rating change is … increasing signs of revenue diversification beyond retail crypto trading, a trend we think could accelerate in 2022 and beyond,” analyst Jason Kupferberg wrote in a commentary.
Subscription and services revenue accounted for 12% of net revenue in the third quarter, up from 4% in 2020. And he forecasts that portion will grow to 16% in 2023.
“Drivers of this trend will likely be a combination of offerings, such as:
· “Staking (blockchain rewards),
· “An earn campaign (users earn crypto for learning more about crypto, and COIN gets paid by the underlying digital asset issuer),
· “COIN’s nonfungible-token [NFT] platform (which has opened a waiting list for users and we expect will launch this year), and
· “Decentralized finance products, such as DeFi Yield (enabling COIN users to earn yield on Dai stablecoins),” Kupferberg said.
“Scaling of these nontrading revenue streams could also catalyze increased interest in the stock among institutional investors.”
To be sure, regulatory uncertainty remains a risk, he said. But “we continue to believe that COIN’s technology/innovation and brand are positive differentiators, as more consumers and institutions engage with various parts of the crypto/digital asset ecosystem.”
Kupferberg also noted that Coinbase has underperformed the S&P 500 index by 35 percentage points over the past two months, making its valuation attractive.
He left his share-price target at $340. Coinbase recently traded at $231.04, down 1%.