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After Coinbase's blockbuster debut, what investors say it means for cryptocurrency markets

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Coinbase opened at $381 a share, up 52% from its reference price — Here's what investors are saying now

It was a big day for the crypto space.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase opened at $381 a share, up 52% from its reference price. The stock closed its first day of trading at $328.

Here's what investors are saying about the company and the stock now.

Sarah Kunst, managing director of Cleo Capital, explains the significance of the debut.

"The thing that is not debatable is that this is a huge success story for crypto overall, and what we're seeing here is the first major IPO, the first IPO ever really, for a crypto company, for a crypto exchange in the U.S. And I think that no matter what happens with their stock price minute to minute or over the next few quarters, this milestone is the first of many and crypto companies are here to stay even in the public markets."

Michael Bucella, partner at BlockTower Capital, mentions one tailwind boosting Coinbase.

"There is enormous operating leverage within Coinbase. If you think about their fee revenue model, it's primarily crypto-driven, so fees are collected in crypto. So you had an acceleration increase in fees, plus the acceleration in price gives you this almost levered beta to this space."

Emily Parker, TV co-anchor at CoinDesk, highlights some challenges Coinbase could face.

"It's hugely important for the crypto industry, and that's why this listing is so important, because Coinbase in many ways is seen as a gateway to the mainstream world. Coinbase is relatively easy to use, it's trusted, so it's for new investors who want to get into the crypto market. But ... that could actually be a risk to Coinbase over the long term because Coinbase is going to start seeing more competition from banks. If there is an ETF, will that pose a risk to Coinbase? If a bank allows you to start buying crypto out of your checking account, will people still use Coinbase? So interestingly as crypto gets more and more mainstream, Coinbase will have to maintain that first-mover advantage."

Bobby Cho, partner at CMS Holdings, sees opportunity ahead for Coinbase.

"There's this opportunity for Coinbase to access all different types of traditional products. Two years ago, I believe, they bought Keystone, a broker dealer, so that's in the works, and there are other ways that they haven't even tapped into in terms of monetizing how current exchanges ... are currently making money, such as market data. At this point, market data is free, but at some point they're going to start to latch on to some of those revenue streams, and I just look at all of that as a growth opportunity here."