Tag Archives: CLX

Why Bank of America Really Gets the Potential of Coinbase

When I get a crazy idea in my head – and believe me, I have a lot of them – I usually like to have at least one semi-reputable source to back up my thesis, however loosely. Recently, I printed a whopper of a concept for Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN), the popular though controversial cryptocurrency wallet and exchange. Fortunately, my take on COIN stock wasn’t left stranded in the ideological spectrum for too long.

The Coinbase (COIN) logo on a smartphone screen with a BTC token.Source: Primakov / Shutterstock.com

Better yet, it was none other than the global equities research arm of Bank of America that came to my rescue. On Aug. 13, BofA Securities initiated coverage of COIN stock with a neutral rating and a price target of $273.

Though it’s not raving with confidence, BofA mentioned in a note to investors that “COIN has established an asset-agnostic platform to facilitate activity within the crypto-economy, among a wide range of retail and institutional participants.”

Further, the financial institution added that it could make a bullish case for COIN stock “if we assume that the company will be successful in diversifying its revenues streams away from crypto trading (95% of net revenue in 2Q21) and into other subscription and services (S&S) offerings. Some of these products (staking, lending) are starting to gain more traction, but are still a small part of the business.”

7 Infrastructure Stocks to Buy as the $1 Trillion Flows In

I couldn’t have said it better myself. In my July article about Coinbase, I stated that I would be a buyer of COIN stock if the underlying company made one change: transition its narrative from being a growth play into a dividend-bearing one.

Now, the mechanics of such a transition is above my paygrade. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of potential for COIN stock if the crypto exchange can move away from its speculative image as BofA suggested.

COIN Stock Can Benefit From Normalization

Of course, the big challenge of shifting Coinbase’s business from crypto trading to anything else is that the former is so darn sexy. You’ve heard the stories about virtual currency bros suddenly becoming millionaires due to their speculative activities.

You’re just not going to get that kind of impact buying dividend-bearing blue chips that yield 2% a year or whatever. But for the sake of COIN stock, the issuing company really needs to think about being as boring as Clorox (NYSE:CLX), or any other snooze-inducing investment.

You see, outside of the pandemic, CLX is something that very few people think about. But no matter what goes on in the economy, people need household goods. Therefore, the company is able to consistently pay out dividends and rising ones at that. According to Dividend.com, Clorox enjoyed 45 consecutive years of dividend increases.

That’s really the target for Coinbase – 45 consecutive years of dividend increases as opposed to selling the idea that investors can make 45x their money. Yes, 45x is undoubtedly sexier than 45 years of dividends. But here’s the thing: 45X rarely happens. And if it’s going to happen in a steadily maturing (relatively speaking) industry like cryptos, investors will have to rely on some seriously scatological digital assets.

The other problem with Coinbase relying on crypto trading per BofA is that as Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) goes, so goes the rest of the blockchain market. That does not happen in the equities sector, which exposes the vulnerability of COIN stock.

Imagine if your profitability potential in the Nasdaq composite rested on one stock traded in the technology-centric exchange. That would probably scare a lot of people away from the equities sector. So, why would Coinbase be any different?

Where Are the Shorts?

Finally, here’s the kicker and it’s an incredibly ironic one: without an easy way of shorting Bitcoin and other cryptos, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to get anyone excited about COIN stock. Like BofA stated, 95% of Coinbase’s net revenue in the second quarter of 2021 came from crypto trading. But is it really trading if you can only go one way?

And that’s the issue – even as a trading platform, Coinbase stinks. By the way, that’s not Coinbase’s fault but rather, the nature of cryptos and crypto exchanges.

But that’s also where the opportunity is. Yes, competition is rife for COIN stock but everybody’s doing the same thing. Since Coinbase has the mainstream name recognition advantage, it should give the mainstream what it wants: diversification.

Don’t abandon the crypto trading element. Instead, Coinbase just needs to be accretive in its approach. For instance, if there was a way for the company to expand its interest-bearing programs, that would bring in the baby boomers and their money.

Imagine, big interest payouts and the protection of a custodial service. Again, I’m not entirely sure about how the mechanics will work but it all begins with an attitude shift. For Coinbase’s sake, I hope management considers what BofA is saying.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto held a LONG position in BTC. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.

Amazon Widening Moat With Prime, Alexa And Echo Integration


source: Cnet

For the first time ever, Amazon recently released its full-year shipping numbers for Amazon Prime, saying for 2017 it delivered more than 5 billion products around the world, and increased its prime subscriber base at a pace it never has reached in the past.

It also said in the Christmas season of 2016 it delivered 1 billion products – although it didn’t release full 2016 shipping figures.

It also said the biggest seller among its Prime members in the U.S. was Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick. The Fire TV Stick can communicate with Alexa if the remote has a Voice button, further locking in consumers to Amazon’s ecosystem. Most if not all the things you can do using an Echo can be done with a Fire TV is you want.

Besides the lock-in, Amazon (AMZN) has revealed where it’s taking all of this: Developing an ad model around the devices it makes that use Alexa. The significance of Prime members buying the two devices in large numbers points to Amazon having a sizable consumer base to work from.

Combined with other Prime perks, it’s going to be difficult for competitors to dislodge customers from the integrated services and products.

Ad potential

Even though Amazon is easily the market leader in e-commerce, that’s not the case with its advertising business, which is fifth among U.S.. companies. The bulk of Amazon’s ad revenue comes from sponsored placements on its website.

In the third quarter of 2017 ad sales came in at over $1 billion. According to eMarketer, that will grow by 42 percent in 2018, to $2.4 billion. That pales in comparison to Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) $21.6 billion and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) $40.1 billion. From that reference point, Amazon has nowhere to go but up with its ad growth.

As for voice search and related ad potential, Google said as far back as May 2016 that 20 percent of searches on mobile were from voice. Looking ahead, comScore has said it believes voice-initiated searches will account for about half of all searches by 2020.

This is a powerful ad revenue catalyst for Amazon, which holds close to 75 percent market share at this time, and may have increased that in the Christmas shopping season.

A report from CNBC noted that sources tell them it is in negotiations with a number of large brands, including Clorox (NYSE:CLX) and P&G (NYSE:PG), either to promote products within Alexa skills, or to sponsor products when Alexa provides suggestions. That would be similar to shopping within the existing Amazon interface, with the exception of it being a combination of audio, and now it appears video, with the move toward offering Echo with a screen.

It’ll be interesting to see if it innovates with Fire TV and moves in a similar direction.

The future of Alexa and Echo will probably be immersive

Based upon the response of Amazon to audio ads launched by VoiceLabs in May 2017 for devices using Alexa, it appears the company wasn’t impressed with the results, as it was shut down by Amazon.

Interestingly, CEO Adam Marchick said consumers were highly receptive to the audio ads. He also said there was a lot of advertiser demand from CPG companies, to prompt people to add products to their shopping carts.

It’s possible the results were OK, but Amazon may have been looking for a lot more. I think Amazon sees video being a part of the future of Alexa and Echo, and is probably positioning itself to offer a more immersive ad experience for consumer, by which I mean one that includes all the senses.

The strong sales of Echo Dot doesn’t lend itself to that, since it doesn’t include a screen at this time. But the strategy to me seems to be to get the devices in the home and grow and retain hefty market share, and then promote the idea of a premium device and experience, led now by Amazon Echo Show, which does have a screen.

I think we’ll probably see Amazon eventually roll out a lower cost Echo with a screen in the not-too-distant future, if it is in fact looking to ramp up its video business by including visuals with the audio of Alexa.

Conclusion

Not to be lost in all of this is the ongoing growth of Amazon Prime. While we all know a percentage of the people getting temporary free Prime subscriptions during the Christmas season are going to drop out, but a significant number will stay on as well.

Amazon is obviously building an ecosystem with its Prime, Alexa, Echo, and probably Fire TV, which will make it extremely difficult to compete against.

As it builds that out, not only is it generating more revenue from its Prime members, which most investors know about, but it seems like those using Alexa are highly engaged when ordering from the e-commerce giant.

This is prepping Prime subscribers for the convenience of using Alexa and Echo to accept ads in the future on the device. Ads that won’t be considered intrusive, but part of the experience of being offered suggestions that are based upon the comprehensive database Amazon has on its customer’s buying habits and interests.

Once again, I think Amazon has outmaneuvered its competitors and is about to become a strong player in the digital ad space. This should add yet another solid revenue stream to its growing business.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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