Piper Sandler cautiously optimistic about Coinbase despite staking concerns
Piper Sandler cautiously optimistic about Coinbase (COIN) despite staking concerns
By Sam Boughedda
Piper Sandler analysts maintained an Overweight rating and $65 per share price target on Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) Monday but said the firm is cautious on regulatory risk as the SEC eyes staking.
Last week, the SEC announced charges against cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, alleging its crypto staking-as-a-service program amounted to offering unregistered securities products in the US.
To settle the charges, Kraken agreed to pay $30 million and shut all of its US staking services, sparking concerns about a broader crackdown on cryptocurrency staking.
The analysts said in their note that the following day, SEC Chair Gary Gensler appeared on both CNBC & Bloomberg TV and was critical of intermediary crypto storefronts offering staking products similar to Kraken’s, urging them to «come in to compliance.»
However, on Friday, Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal argued that the company’s staking offering differs from Kraken’s and is not a security under the US Securities Act or the «Howey test.»
As a result, the analysts told investors that the firm is cautiously optimistic as Coinbase could undergo a key test of regulatory compliance.
«COIN has long touted the regulatory compliance of its crypto products & services, platform, and general operations,» they wrote. «As the SEC moves toward what appears to be a more aggressive stance on crypto regulation, we are cautiously optimistic that COIN won’t be weighed down by recently increased scrutiny around staking.»
They acknowledged that while the recent pullback in the stock clearly reflects the possibility of increased regulatory risk, Piper Sandler still believes longer term regulatory clarity is «likely positive both for the crypto industry and COIN itself.»