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Should I Buy Bitcoin or the Coinbase IPO?

If an investor wants to put their money to work in Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC), the logical way to go is to buy the digital currency itself. On the other hand, with leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase set to go public in the coming weeks, are investors better off buying shares of the company instead? In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on Feb. 22, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, and Industry Focus host Jason Moser discuss both options and what investors should keep in mind.

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Matt Frankel: Chris says, "When is Coinbase's IPO supposed to go live, and do you feel that it's a better investment than crypto itself, essentially betting on the casino rather than the player?"

Let me think how I want to answer that. I think the cryptocurrency thing has been a little overdone at this point. I recently read that the Coinbase IPO or Coinbase shares are selling a valuation of over $100 billion in the secondary market. That makes it the highest-valued financial exchange in the world. Higher than the CBOE (NYSEMKT: CBOE), the CME (NASDAQ: CME).

Jason Moser: ICE (NYSE: ICE).

Frankel: The Euronext or whatever.

Moser: That's insane.

Frankel: ICE is the other one. It's going to be a richly valued stock. It'll probably go up from there if the recent IPO market's any indicator. I think it's going to be expensive once it's a publicly traded company. Having said that, I'd rather invest in Coinbase than in crypto directly because it's a productive asset. It's a real business, they make transaction revenue. I prefer that to investing in crypto, but you're not going to see either of them in my portfolio anytime soon.

Moser: The currency is how much someone's willing to pay for that particular currency.

Frankel: Right. As far as the IPO, like I've mentioned many times I'm a value investor at heart, that is not going to be a value stock. I like any investment at the right price at the right time, but I don't think it's going to appeal to me as is. I think it's going to be very richly valued and they're not the only player in the space, too. They're valued like they're going to have a monopoly on this thing. [laughs] There are other big exchanges out there. That's my thoughts on the matter.

Moser: That's a good point. I do you feel like you mean this, I'm not really interested in it either, but I do feel like if I were to be interested in one versus the other, I feel like I'd be more interested in the casino, the actual business that generates money in some way, and that's one of those things.

Frankel: I don't own any casino stocks either.

Jason Moser has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Matthew Frankel, CFP has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Cboe Global Markets Inc, CME Group, and Intercontinental Exchange. The Motley Fool recommends Bitcoin. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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