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Bank of America downgrades Coinbase, says FTX collapse raises ‘contagion risk’ for crypto platform

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Bank of America says the collapse of FTX is clouding the outlook for Coinbase . Analyst Jason Kupferberg downgraded shares of Coinbase to neutral from buy, citing “contagion risk” for the cryptocurrency exchange platform, even if it is not “another FTX.” “We think Coinbase (COIN) likely faces a number of new headwinds over the near/medium-term due to the recent collapse of rival crypto exchange FTX,” Kupferberg wrote in a Friday note. “We feel confident that COIN is not ‘another FTX’ (only $15M of deposits on FTX platform per a Coinbase blog post and $5B of cash on hand as of 9/30), but that does not make them immune from the broader fallout within the crypto ecosystem,” Kupferberg added. The analyst cited three reasons for the downgrade. First, he expects lower trading from retail traders after the FTX debacle. According to the note, retail traders remain Coinbase’s core customer even if institutional investors make up the bulk of trading volume on the platform. “With a large competitor eliminated, and with COIN reiterating its focus on regulatory compliance and the safety of customer assets, we think COIN may be able to gain market share over the long-term. However, diminished confidence in the crypto ecosystem (especially among retail crypto users) is likely to dampen overall trading activity,” read the note. Second, while traders were expecting some regulatory clarity around cryptocurrencies next year, that clarity may have been pushed back for now, the analyst said. Finally, the analyst expects that it will take more time for crypto traders to fully understand the implication of the FTX collapse, which could further drag on other cryptocurrencies for the foreseeable future. “Contagion risk and the broader fallout from the FTX collapse could linger: in a Wall Street Journal interview yesterday, COIN CFO Alesia Haas said it may take a few more weeks before the full impact of this event is fully understood, and that any meaningful and sustained further deterioration in crypto asset prices (i.e. Bitcoin price of $10k) would be a material drag on COIN revenues,” read the note. Kupferberg also cut his price target to $50 from $77. The new price target is roughly in line with where shares closed Thursday, at $48.79. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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