Bitstamp, the world’s oldest currently-operating cryptocurrency exchange, is set to be purchased by a South Korean gaming firm that is looking to carve out a central role in the nascent blockchain industry.
The Luxembourg-based Bitstamp was founded in 2011, and it currently holds the distinction of being Europe’s only licensed cryptocurrency exchange. The firm regularly ranks among the world’s 10-15 largest exchanges as measured by daily trading volume, in part because it is one of a relatively low number of trading platforms equipped to offer fiat trading pairs.
In January, Bitstamp CEO said that the exchange had 3 million registered accounts and 500,000 active users, though this latter number may have declined over the past several months due to the lull in the market.
Nexon, meanwhile, released its first PC game in 1995 and remains a major player in the South Korean and Japanese PC and mobile gaming markets, though the firm also has offices in the US, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Some of the company’s better-known titles include South Korean and Japanese versions of Counter-Strike and FIFA Online, as well as Riders of Icarus and the MapleStory franchise.
Assuming the two parties ink the deal, Bitstamp will be the second cryptocurrency exchange Nexon has purchased in the past year alone. In September, the firm acquired a majority stake in Korbit, which at one time was South Korea’s second-largest cryptocurrency trading platform, at a $150 million valuation.
It will also be the industry’s third major cryptocurrency exchange acquisition in 2018.
In February, Circle acquired US cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, which posts lower daily trading volumes than Bitstamp but nevertheless managed to command a reported $400 million from the Goldman Sachs-backed fintech startup.
Earlier this month, Japanese brokerage firm Monex acquired Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck — which in January succumbed to the largest cryptocurrency exchange theft in history — for approximately $34 million.
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