Coinbase goes public

Shares of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase hit the stock market for the first time Wednesday, opening at $381 to give the company a nearly $100 billion valuation.

Coinbase, a popular platform to buy and sell digital currencies such as Bitcoin, kicked off its initial public offering Wednesday on the Nasdaq composite and saw its share price skyrocket soon after launch.

Coinbase shares rose as high as $425 before settling near $400 shortly before 2 p.m., well above the reference price of $250 estimated Nasdaq before the stock offering.

Unlike typical IPOs, Coinbase directly listed shares of the company — which were held only by employees and private investors before Wednesday — allowing original shareholders to sell their stock instead of having a bank underwrite the offering.