important point

  • Circle will launch the USDC stablecoin, the world’s fifth largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $44 billion.
  • Circle has announced plans to go public in July 2021 at a valuation of $4.5 billion.
  • That valuation doubled to $9 billion last February, but the deal was canceled in December.
  • Cryptocurrencies need more public companies to establish legitimacy, declares analyst Dan Ashmore
  • Circle claims it maintains its intention to go public in the long term, but Ashmore writes that this depends on certain variables.

In 2021, the world of cryptocurrencies was rosy.

The exchange named Coinbase went public in April with a valuation of $86 billion. It was the first major crypto company to go public. It was soon declared a financial giant on Wall Street and its market capitalization was larger than the stock exchange on which it was traded. Nasdaq’s market cap was his $26 billion, while ICE (NYSE’s parent company) was valued at his $67 billion.

It is against this backdrop that Circle, the issuer of USD Coin, the fifth largest cryptocurrency in the world and the second largest stablecoin in the world, has announced its own plans to go public. It was the opposite. It was valued at $4.5 billion and was expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker CRCL by the end of the year.

Circle then began tackling market share through USD Coin from rival Tether, and the cryptocurrency’s price continued to soar. By February 2021, that valuation had doubled to $9 billion. And then everything changed.

Bear Market Ends IPO Hopes

Risky asset prices plummeted as interest rates rose in response to the inflation crisis and the world moved into tighter financial conditions. Cryptocurrencies have been hit hardest and the market has been completely devastated.

This derailed Circle’s plans to go public, eventually canceling plans in December.A good way to assess how bad the timing would have been if Circle had gone public is to look at the stock price of Coinbase (I wrote an in-depth article on Coinbase’s plight here).

Even after a 45% uptick in the new year, the market cap is still at $13 billion, down 85% from its IPO valuation of $86 billion. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see why the Circle chose to let the deal fall through.

Crypto needs a public company

The big loser in all of this is crypto. I’ve written a lot about what I believe to be the biggest problem of the last year. It’s a blow to the reputation of the industry as a whole.

Not only that, but the continued lack of transparency surrounding so many centralized companies in this space is also damaging. For too long, these companies have operated in an unregulated and freely ruled Old West world.

Binance is a good example.In the wake of that, we issued a proof of reserves report FTX Meltdownbut Mazar, the audit partner issuing the reserve, suddenly canceled the relationship and gave up providing such reports to all crypto companies.

This comes amid ongoing misunderstandings as to what the report represents. I mean, they were declared audited by many in the crypto industry, but they weren’t even close to that. There was no mention of debt, nor was it anywhere near enough detail to give investors any confidence.

The downfall of so many centralized players, including Genesis, Celsius, Three Arrows Capital, Voyager Digital, BlockFi, and FTX, has dealt an immeasurable blow to the entire industry.

The growing number of publicly traded companies can offset the reputational damage that cryptocurrencies have suffered. Just as Coinbase has done badly for investors, its presence in the stock market lends an air of legitimacy to an industry that needs it so badly.

Circle maintains its intention to go public in the future when the time is right. As the industry continues to fight for legitimacy on the big stage, the entire cryptocurrency industry should want that to be proven to be true.

By Jules

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