Silvergate Bank, a crypto-friendly lender, began trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange with a market value of about $208 million – another sign that crypto-focused banking space is maturing.
Silvergate, which is trading under the ticker (NYSE: $SI), saw its assets double after recently focusing mostly on blockchain firms.
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The San Diego-based bank filed with the market regulator, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as it plans to raise $40 million. After it secured the SEC’s approval, it announced the initial pricing of its IPO at $12 per share.
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Shares of Silvergate climbed five percent in its stock exchange debut, currently exchanging hands at $12.61. The bank offered 3.33 million shares at its public offering, with selling shareholders unloading 2.5 million of their holdings.
If successful, this IPO will be a major instance through which the relationship between mainstream capital markets and the newer cryptocurrency world will go ahead. It will also show how small lenders can capitalize on the mania to service cryptocurrency-related businesses as the big banks avoid the sector.
Crypto has become a real money maker
In the absence of major institutional attention, Silvergate Bank provided tailored financial services to businesses that are directly or indirectly dealing with cryptocurrency and blockchain-related services. Enabling a seamless transition between the crypto and fiat worlds helped the bank to double its assets under management from $978 million to $2.2 billion.
The filing with the SEC also highlights how the crypto sector has become a real moneymaker for Silvergate. While major banks continue to refrain from processing transactions in cryptocurrency, “the majority of our funding comes from noninterest bearing deposits associated with clients in the digital currency industry,” Silvergate states.
It further reads: “As of September 30, 2018, approximately $1.7 billion, or 88.2%, of our total deposits were noninterest-bearing demand accounts.”
By enabling crypto firms to use their banking services, the local three-branch lender has managed to onboard over 750 blockchain-related companies in the past year, including big US exchanges such as Paxos, Gemini, and Kraken.
Silvergate is not the only bank taking the opportunity to capture a share in the emerging market of cryptocurrency-related businesses. Over the last couple of months, a handful of small lenders in Europe were also following suit, even going as far as offering a dedicated banking service for this sector in an attempt to resolve its financial inefficiencies.