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cryptocurrency

Millions of Americans are about to become unknowing crypto investors

With cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase making its Nasdaq debut on Wednesday, "investors no longer have the luxury of watching from the sidelines," Nir Kaissar writes in Bloomberg. "We all have a stake in cryptos now."

Kaissar explains that Coinbase differs from a lot of companies that head to Wall Street for public stock offerings in that it's "already hugely profitable" with expected earnings of $730 million to $800 million in the first quarter on $1.8 billion of revenue. It's valued at about $100 billion, placing it among the 100 largest companies in the U.S., which means it's guaranteed to lock up a spot in most broad market index funds. Coinbase is also eligible for the S&P 500, which Kaissar notes is "the most popular index of them all and a core investment in countless portfolios and retirement accounts," so, regardless of whether they realize it, millions of people are about to become crypto investors.

Aside from its inclusion in index funds, Kaissar expects the exchange to be very popular with actively managed funds, though he notes there are a few reasons not to get overly excited. For instance, Coinbase's profitability could soon invite competition (including from central bank digital currencies), as well as the risk of increased regulation. "With Coinbase soon to be dropped into millions of portfolios, cryptos have essentially found a way around regulators," Kaissar writes. "That may compel the [Securities and Exchange Commission] to ramp up regulation and scrutiny on crypto exchanges." Read more at Bloomberg.