One of the longest-standing crypto exchanges has new owners after Europe-based Bitstamp was sold to South Korea’s Nexon, marking the gaming firm’s second such acquisition.
The acquirer is NXMH, a Belgium-based PE and investment firm owned by NXC — the parent of Nexon — and it will take a majority 80 percent stake in the business for an unknown fee. The New York Times’ Nathaniel Popper suggested earlier this year that Bitstamp was in the process of being sold “to South Korean investors” for $400 million, but NXC declined to comment on the price when asked by TechCrunch.
NXC acquired 65 percent of Korea-based exchange Korbit one year ago for 91.3 billion KRW, or approximately $79.5 million at the time.
Bitstamp was founded in 2011 by Slovenian entrepreneur Nejc Kodrič with an initial €1,000 and it survived the heady early days of crypto, unlike a certain peer named Mt. Gox. Today, Bitstamp is ranked inside the world’s top 30 exchanges based on trading volume with more than 100 staff. Bitcoin and XRP are among its most traded tokens, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com.
The company has a license to do business across the EU but it also works with customers worldwide.
Bitstamp has been profitable since its early life, but Kodrič revealed the sale is down to the potential to work with NXC, which he sees as a like-minded partner.
Bitstamp has been regularly approached by suitors for quite some time. The reason why we finally decided to sell the company is a combination of the quality of the buyer, the quality of the offer and the fact that the industry is at a point where consolidation makes sense. A major factor in agreeing to the sale is that the mission, leadership and vision of the company remains the same.
We believe this acquisition is the logical next step in Bitstamp’s growth as a company and I look forward to the future with this team.
The Bitstamp CEO said business will continue as normal — he’ll retain his position as CEO and keep 10 percent of the company.
Interestingly, he told Fortune that regulatory compliance meant the deal took some ten months to close after first being agreed in December 2017 when crypto market valuations hit a peak — with Bitcoin, in particular, getting close to a record $20,000 valuation.
Bitstamp raised around $14 million in capital from investors along its journey, with U.S-based Pantera capital one of its major backers.