Home Coinbase Better Cryptocurrency Stock: Coinbase vs. Marathon Digital

Better Cryptocurrency Stock: Coinbase vs. Marathon Digital

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Some traders could be intrigued by cryptocurrencies however reluctant to purchase any of the unstable cash. For these traders, publicly traded corporations that present some publicity to cryptocurrencies would possibly look like higher investments.

Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) and Marathon Digital (NASDAQ:MARA) are two such shares. Coinbase owns the most important cryptocurrency alternate in the USA with 8.8 million month-to-month transacting customers (MTUs), whereas Marathon Digital mines Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC) with over 22,000 miners.

Coinbase went public by way of a direct itemizing this April with a reference worth of $250, however regulatory issues not too long ago triggered its worth to dip beneath that stage. In the meantime, Marathon’s inventory skyrocketed roughly 1,650% larger over the previous 12 months because it transitioned from a patent-holding enterprise to a bitcoin-mining firm. So which of those unstable cryptocurrency stocks is a greater funding proper now?

Golden Bitcoin tokens on a shiny circuit board.

Picture supply: Getty Pictures.

Coinbase continues to be rising like a weed

Coinbase’s income jumped 144% to $1.28 billion in 2020, then surged 969% year-over-year to $4.03 billion within the first half of 2021. It turned worthwhile in 2020 with a internet revenue of $322 million, and it stayed within the black with a whopping internet revenue of $2.37 billion within the first six months of 2021.

Coinbase’s buying and selling quantity elevated 142% to $193 billion in 2020, then accelerated to $335 billion and $462 billion within the first and second quarters of 2021, respectively. Roughly half of its buying and selling quantity got here from Bitcoin and Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH) within the second quarter. It ended 2020 with 2.8 million MTUs, however its consumer base expanded to eight.8 million MTUs within the second quarter of 2021.

Analysts count on Coinbase’s income to surge 433% to $6.8 billion this yr, whereas its adjusted EPS ought to enhance 676%. After all, traders must be skeptical of these estimates since they’re pinned to unpredictable cryptocurrency costs, however they make the inventory look surprisingly low-cost at 44 occasions ahead earnings and 9 occasions this yr’s gross sales.

Nonetheless, a number of issues are weighing down Coinbase’s inventory. First, the Securities and Trade Fee (SEC) not too long ago threatened to sue Coinbase if it proceeded with its deliberate launch of Lend, a characteristic that might enable its customers to lend out their USD Cash (a digital stablecoin pinned to the U.S. greenback) to earn curiosity. That risk suggests the SEC may scrutinize Coinbase’s different options.

Second, Coinbase not too long ago boosted the dimensions of its new debt providing from $1.5 billion to $2 billion. These bonds, that are rated as “junk” by S&P World, might be issued in two tranches: one which matures in Oct. 2028 with a coupon of three.375%, and one other which matures in Oct. 2031 with a coupon of three.625%. Coinbase’s long-term debt steadiness stood at $1.5 billion on the finish of June, so the corporate is greater than doubling its debt load at excessive rates of interest. These curiosity bills may damage Coinbase if cryptocurrency costs stall out or decline.

Marathon continues to mine extra bitcoins

Marathon generated simply $4.4 million in income with a internet lack of $10.4 million in 2020. However within the first half of 2021, its income skyrocketed 4,279% year-over-year to $38.5 million because it expanded its fleet of bitcoin miners and mined extra bitcoins.

Nonetheless, Marathon’s internet loss additionally widened year-over-year, from $3.2 million to $25.5 million, because of the rising prices of buying extra miners and operating these machines. 

On the finish of 2020, Marathon solely held 126 bitcoins. However originally of 2021, it bought 4,813 bitcoins for $150 million at a median worth of $31,168 — which is nicely beneath its present worth of about $48,000. As well as, Marathon’s personal miners minted extra bitcoins all year long, and its whole variety of bitcoins rose to six,695 — which have a present market worth of roughly $320 million — by the tip of August.

Marathon expects its fleet of Bitmain‘s top-tier ASIC miners to increase from 22,412 originally of September to 133,000 by mid-2022. That order has already been positioned, but it surely might be disrupted by new cryptocurrency restrictions towards Bitmain in its residence market of China. Bitmain suspended all of its outgoing shipments in June, however Marathon nonetheless expects its total order of ASIC miners to be crammed.

Analysts count on Marathon’s income to extend 5,189% to $230.4 million this yr, then rise 204% to $700.8 million subsequent yr. Based mostly on these expectations, Marathon’s inventory trades at 16 occasions this yr’s gross sales and simply 5 occasions subsequent yr’s gross sales. These valuations might sound low relative to its development charges, however they’re utterly pinned to bitcoin’s worth and its skill to safe new ASIC miners from Bitmain.

The winner: Coinbase

Each of those shares are dangerous all-in bets on cryptocurrencies. Nonetheless, Coinbase is a greater funding than Marathon for 4 easy causes: It is not engaged within the capital-intensive mining course of, it is constantly worthwhile, it presents a various vary of cryptocurrencies, and its inventory is cheaper. The regulatory headwinds are value watching, however I personally doubt the SEC will ever ban Coinbase’s core platform.


This text represents the opinion of the author, who could disagree with the “official” advice place of a Motley Idiot premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even considered one of our personal — helps us all suppose critically about investing and make choices that assist us change into smarter, happier, and richer.

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