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The use of cryptocurrency by Hamas undermines Coinbase lobbying efforts: Berenberg analysts

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Recent reports suggesting that Hamas utilized cryptocurrency to finance attacks in Israel could pose challenges for Coinbase’s lobbying endeavors, as stated by Mark Palmer, the lead analyst at Berenberg.

Berenberg Capital Markets, in a new investment report dated October 18, suggests that the deployment of cryptocurrency by Hamas for funding attacks on Israel might hinder Coinbase’s crypto lobbying efforts in the United States. Mark Palmer, the lead analyst at Berenberg, emphasizes in a research note that his “cautious stance” towards Coinbase is primarily influenced by regulatory actions against the platform in the U.S. and the political repercussions of the Israel–Hamas conflict.

Last week, the Financial Times reported Israeli authorities shutting down and seizing over 100 accounts on Binance and other crypto exchanges, aiding Hamas in fundraising. In the crackdown, millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were seized. Palmer notes that despite Hamas’ previous announcement in April about discontinuing the use of crypto for fundraising, recent headlines could make the legal status of crypto even more ambiguous.

Coinbase has significantly intensified its lobbying efforts in the U.S. over the past few years, aiming for clearer and more crypto-friendly regulations. Berenberg analysts maintain a “hold” recommendation on Coinbase (COIN) stock with a price target of $39. At the time of publication, Coinbase shares were trading at $77.30, marking a 3% increase for the day, according to TradingView data.

Palmer maintains a cautious perspective on COIN, especially considering its substantial increase this year compared to Bitcoin and the Nasdaq. He attributes the “Hold” rating to the belief that the stock is currently uninvestable in the near term. The ongoing case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adds to the challenges, potentially dampening positive momentum in the company’s share price.

Despite weaker-than-expected trading volumes due to a “persistent crypto winter,” Palmer acknowledges Berenberg’s revised estimate of the company’s consumer transaction revenue, now at $240.8 million, up from $210 million. This adjustment reflects the anticipation that Coinbase’s consumer take rate will contract at a slower pace.

Moreover, Palmer highlights Coinbase’s substantial cash balance as a source of “cushion and flexibility.” He expects the management to continue expense reduction, extending the company’s runway. In conclusion, Palmer warns against outright shorting of COIN shares, considering it a risky strategy amid the company’s legal battle with the SEC, which might lead to unpredictable upward movements.

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