It has been confirmed that cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp has been acquired by a Belgian investment firm which is a subsidiary of a South Korean conglomerate.
The price of the deal was not disclosed, but rumours place the amount at $400 million, according to Fortune.
Buyer and Buyee
Rumours of an acquisition were widely reported in April but were partially erroneous in that they identified the buyer as Nexon, a Korean-Japanese video game company.
The Belgian investment company that bought Bitstamp is called NXMH. Its website offers no information other than its address, email address, and phone number. According to Bloomberg it was founded in 2011 and has not reported its key executives. NXMH is owned by NXC of Jeju, South Korea. According to Bloomberg, NXC was founded in 1989 and has holdings and subsidiaries in South Korea, Japan, Europe, and the US. It is headed by CEO Jung-Ju Kim and deals mainly in online games and consumer electronics. Nexon is one of its subsidiaries.
Bitstamp is based in Luxembourg and handled $35.2 million worth of cryptocurrency trades in the last 24 hours, according to coinmarketcap.com. Founded in Slovenia in August 2011, it is one of the world’s oldest cryptocurrency exchanges. It later changed its registration to the UK, and then to Luxembourg.
If It Ain’t Broke
Bitstamp CEO Nejc Kodrič will continue to run the operation and retains a minority stake in the exchange. Pantera Capital, a blockchain investment fund with an investment in the exchange, will retain a six percent share in the company. Kodrič told Fortune: “We have kind of the same opinion as NXMH—why change something if it works perfectly well?”
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He told CoinDesk: “We realized very early on that our outlook for the crypto industry is very much aligned with them. They’ve given us a lot of confidence that our execution will proceed…”
He added that the deal would help “bridge the gap between traditional finance and crypto.”
NXMH investment manager Hendrik Ghys said in a statement: “Bitstamp is one of the oldest and most-respected cryptocurrency exchanges and we see positive growth potential as the industry continues to evolve…We acquired Bitstamp because we see it as a strategic, long-term investment.”
Nexon spent $80 million on 65 percent of South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Korbit in September 2017. Might the two exchanges be merged?
Kodrič shot this down: “We’ve talked about it, but we decided to keep the companies running separately.”