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JPMorgan Warns of Crypto Market Challenges Following Coinbase Downgrade

Compounding the market's challenges, the world's largest cryptocurrency has seen a price decline since the approval of spot ETFs, reaching a two-month low recently.


JPMorgan has downgraded Coinbase after disappointing bitcoin ETF launch.
Credit: Kanchanara, Unsplash

NEW YORK, NY – In a significant development for the cryptocurrency markets, JPMorgan released a research report on Monday indicating potential challenges in the year 2024, primarily due to the diminishing enthusiasm surrounding bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The bank's report notably downgraded the U.S. exchange Coinbase (COIN) to 'underweight' from its previous 'neutral' stance, maintaining an unchanged price target of $80.


Coinbase Stock Declines


Coinbase's stock experienced a decline of 4.1%, falling to $122.90 in premarket trading, a reaction to the bank's forecast. This downturn follows an impressive 390% gain in the previous year. Despite Coinbase's advancements in various significant initiatives, 2024 is expected to be a more demanding year for the exchange.


JPMorgan analysts, led by Kenneth Worthington, acknowledged Coinbase's dominance in the U.S. cryptocurrency exchange market and its global leadership in crypto trading and investing. However, they expressed concerns over the initial catalyst of bitcoin ETFs, which previously helped revive the crypto market, potentially leading to investor disappointment.


The approval of spot bitcoin ETFs by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last month was hailed as a groundbreaking moment, anticipated to usher in a new era for cryptocurrencies with substantial mainstream investment inflows. These ETFs offer an avenue for investors, previously restricted from owning digital assets, to engage in the sector without directly holding the underlying cryptocurrencies.


JPMorgan Highlights Crypto Market Challenges


JPMorgan's report highlighted apprehensions that the initial enthusiasm for bitcoin ETFs and the consequent influx into the cryptocurrency ecosystem might wane. Any disappointment in ETF fund flows could dampen the excitement that largely fueled the crypto rally, particularly in the second half of 2023 and since October.


The bank noted the existing pressure on bitcoin prices, which have dipped below $40,000. They foresee a potential for further deflation in cryptocurrency ETF enthusiasm, which could lead to decreased token prices, lower trading volumes, and reduced revenue opportunities for companies like Coinbase. Additionally, the report mentioned Coinbase's expected roles in custody, surveillance, and trading for any approved spot Ether (ETH) ETFs.


The situation was exacerbated by the now-defunct crypto exchange FTX's bankruptcy estate, which liquidated $2 billion worth of the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) following its conversion to an ETF, thereby adding to the selling pressure on the underlying digital asset.

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