Crypto Exchange Bithumb to Be Acquired By South Korean Gaming Giant, Nexon, for $460M

Crypto Exchange Bithumb to Be Acquired By South Korean Gaming Giant, Nexon, for $460M

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb wants to put a troubling 2020 behind it and look to the future. It appears that the company’s plans also involve new owners.

Per local news sources, multi-billion-dollar gaming company Nexon is in advanced talks to purchase the exchange outrightly.

Time to Move On

Nexon’s chief executive Kim Seoung-Ju is in talks with some top Bithumb officials over a possible buyout worth 650 billion won ($460 million), local news outlet Mekyung reports. The deal is said to be advanced, as both parties have reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with Vidente, one of Bithumb’s top shareholders. If everything works out as planned, Nexon would control three top crypto exchanges in South Korea. Nexon already owns Bitstamp and Korbit.

The $460 million price would give Nexon a 65 percent stake in Bithumb. Nexon had reportedly been in talks with Bithumb and several shareholders since August 2020 over a potential sale. The gaming company also took part in a September auction, which involved several potential investors and equity fund managers from home and abroad.

Bithumb’s Big Baggage

However, the acquisition process was slowed down due to investigations into Lee Jong Hoon, the chairman of Bithumb Korea.

The same month as the auction, Seoul Shinmun reported that an intelligence crime unit at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency had searched Bithumb’s Gangnam District office. The checks were connected with investigations into Hoon, who was being probed over alleged economic fraud concerning the BXA token.

Per the report, Hoon had promoted BXA as Bithumb’s native token, encouraging investors to purchase the asset. However, the token turned out to be a high-scale fraud endeavor with over 30 billion won ($25 million) in reported damages.

Police conducted two more raids of Bithumb’s offices in September. On the third raid, they reportedly seized company shares belonging to Kim Byung-Geon, the Director of Bithumb Korea.

The Nexon sale isn’t the first time that Bithumb will go through a potential acquisition. In 2018, Hoon was reported to have been shopping for a buyer for the exchange. However, his 400 billion won asking price at the time was considered to be too much.

Local news sources reported in September 2020 that the company was up for sale again per reports, Bithumb Holdings, the exchange’s largest shareholder, had promoted it to interested buyers. Local financial giant Samjon KPMG was overseeing the sale, with several interested companies already submitting proposals. The firm was reported to have asked for 500 to 700 billion won at the time.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

SBI Holdings Acquires Crypto Trading Platform B2C2 After Taking Minority Stake in July

Japanese financial group SBI Holdings subsidiary SBI Financial Services has acquired the UK-based crypto trading firm B2C2.

The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed, but with this acquisition, which was announced by the companies on Tuesday, it will make SBI the first major financial group to run a digital asset dealing desk.

Founded in 2015, B2C2 helps exchanges, brokerages, and fund managers make large trades in digital assets.

SBI first acquired a minority stake in the crypto firm in July, and its clients have already been using the platform to trade crypto assets. With the latest deal, the companies want to help the mainstream financial firms invest in cryptocurrencies. Yoshitaka Kitao, president and CEO of SBI Holdings said,

“Their (B2C2’s) vision, expertise and offering complement SBI’s, and we look forward to working in partnership as we expand our footprint across the global markets.”

B2C2’s team in Japan will now move into the SBI’s offices as part of the acquisition. Max Boonen, the founder of B2C2, expects the team to grow from the current 50 to 70 people over the coming months.

This is no surprise for the crypto market; in 2020, everyone wants a piece of digital assets as Bitcoin soars to new all-time highs, breaking the crucial $20,000 price; Altcoins are rallying as well.

S&P Dow Jones Indices and Cboe Global Markets have announced the launch of their crypto index in 2021 while several mainstream financial and insurance firms, hedge fund managers, high net worth individuals have been investing in Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation and devaluing fiat currencies around the world.

“A lot of people have been dismissive for a long time,” Boonen said in an interview.

“Bitcoin’s price at an all-time high has put concerns to rest.”

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Author: AnTy

ConsenSys Acquires Truffle Suite; The ‘Most Widely Used’ Development Toolkit On Ethereum

Ethereum’s leading development and investment firm, ConsenSys, has acquired Truffle Suite’s dev team and technology. Truffle Suite is a platform hosting Ethereum development tools, a development environment, testing framework, and asset pipeline, allowing developers to build dApps on the second-largest blockchain network easily.

The acquisition follows a one-and-half year-long layoff in any partnership between the two companies. As one of the first companies to be incubated by ConsenSys since 2015 as a developer tool kit, Truffle spans out of the firm in 2019 and has since raised over $3 million in equity funding. The terms of the contract of their reunion were not disclosed in the report. ConsenSys Founder, Joe Lubin said,

“The Truffle Suite is essential for developers to get started on Ethereum and Web3, and is invaluable for increasing adoption of Mainnet applications and enterprise blockchain solutions alike.”

Truffle is currently used by over 1.3 million developers worldwide, enhancing Solidity development into an elegant, productive, and safe product for users. According to the report, the acquisition “concludes ConsenSys strategic restructuring of the company”. The report further stated the restructuring would “form two separate entities and delineate our core technology business from our investment activities, which we started in February 2020″.

“Truffle will now be a wholly-owned product of ConsenSys the software company, which includes Codefi, Diligence, MetaMask, Infura, and Quorum.”

Tim Coulter, Founder of Truffle, labeled Truffle Suite’s acquisition by ConsenSys “a natural fit” for the products stack. He further said,

“We look forward to delivering enterprise-grade solutions that enable developers to build and deploy blockchain systems using Ethereum and across multiple blockchains.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Justin Sun’s P2P Streaming Service Acquires eSports Platform DLive; Launches BitTorrent X

BitTorrent Inc, the popular peer-to-peer data sharing protocol and app, has acquired the well-known decentralized streaming platform DLive. The firm also announced that it will roll out the decentralized DLive platform to its newly established BitTorrent X ecosystem.

The BitTorrent X ecosystem consists of a popular file-sharing system called BitTorrent File System (BTFS) along with a BitTorrent client, which would be utilized to deliver different services to users in the ecosystem.

BitTorrent was developed as a P2P data sharing protocol back in 2001, and ever since its establishment, it has managed to garner over 2 billion users around the world up until now.

BitTorrent was later acquired by Justin Sun, CEO of Tron, in 2018 and since then has become an integral part of the Tron ecosystem. The file-sharing system of BTFS is especially actively utilized by TRON blockchain and DLive as a decentralized storage solution.

Justin Sun, the founder of TRON and CEO of BitTorrent, commented on the newly launched BitTorrent X ecosystem,

“BitTorrent X is the next step in establishing a truly decentralized internet. In one big step, the BitTorrent X ecosystem may drive blockchain-related tools to billions of devices.

Hundreds of millions of users will have access to the next era of tools to share, store, and stream their content directly to anyone across the web.”

DLive To Help in Expanding BitTorrent X Ecosystem

DLive decentralized streaming services have grown rapidly over the years and currently boast over 7 million users and over 200,000 content creators. Pewdepie, a very popular and most subscribed YouTuber, is one of the platform’s famous content creators. With decentralization being the ongoing trend and growing censorship from a mainstream platform like Youtube, many popular content creators are looking to join decentralized platforms such as DLive.

Charles Wayne, CEO of Dlive, commented on their acquisition by BitTorrent Inc and said,

“The acquisition marks a new start for DLive.tv. We are more than excited to join the BitTorrent ecosystem as the collaboration will provide us with more innovative solutions to empower content creators and reward communities.

Together with the BitTorrent team, we look forward to bringing disruptive innovations to the digital media space and create value for our global community.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

Crypto Exchange, Luno, Is Now a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG)

Cryptocurrency exchange Luno has been acquired by New York-based digital asset firm Digital Currency Group.

London-based Luno, which also has hubs in Singapore, Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, Lagos, Jakarta, and Johannesburg, has about 400 employees and caters to more than five million customers. The company, which is also backed by technology investor Naspers and others, will continue to be led by CEO Marcus Swanepoel.

Barry Silbert’s DGC, which backs more than 160 blockchain companies and is the parent of Grayscale Investments, Genesis, Foundry, and Coindesk, first invested in Luno in its seed round in 2014. Now, Luno has also become the independent, wholly-owned subsidiary of DCG.

“Luno is a high growth, global business, and there is a massive opportunity to expand organically and through acquisitions,” said Silbert, founder, and CEO of DCG.

With a long term vision to “upgrade the world to a better financial system,” the company targets bringing 1 billion people into the mix by 2030.

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Author: AnTy

Binance Card Coming to the US Market as Swipe Partners with a Bank

Binance acquired a multi-asset digital wallet and Visa debit card platform; Swipe has partnered with Evolve Bank & Trust to tap the US market.

In the Q2 of 2020, the bank reported about $600k in total assets and a net income of $2,767.

Thanks to this partnership, the Philippines headquartered Swipe will be offering US Dollar checking accounts for its users in the US market that will be accessible via its application. This means users will be able to deposit their direct deposit paychecks into this account. Swipe CEO, Joselito Lizarondo said,

“Partnering with Evolve Bank & Trust gives Swipe the ability to offer a simplified banking experience while utilizing the user-friendly Swipe Wallet application. Users will have access to the same checking account features most brick-and-mortar banks provide, but without any fees.”

The accounts are FDIC insured, and users can use them to purchase and sell supported cryptocurrency via ACH and wire payment networks.

The service will be provided in the next quarter of 2020.

SXP didn’t react to the news as it trades at $2.96, down 3.95% in the past 24 hours. The token hit its all-time high at $4.98 a couple of weeks back.

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Author: AnTy

Chainlink Acquires Cornell’s DECO Project, to Enhance the Privacy of Data on Oracles

Chainlink, the decentralized oracle provider, has acquired Cornell University-based project DECO meant to enhance the privacy of oracles used on blockchain networks. Oracle-based data plays a critical role in maintaining the blockchain network, and with growing cases of hacks and ransomware, strengthening the accuracy, security, and privacy of the Oracle systems would eventually enhance the network of blockchain itself.

Dr. Ari Juels, one of the staff at Cornell University who was involved with the DECO project, has been hired by Chainlink as the chief scientist for the project. Jules would be responsible for overseeing the integration of DECO.

DECO was part of Cornell’s Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts, and it would help Chainlink in minimizing the privacy issues for the data that it offers for smart contracts. The integration of DECO would make Chainlink oracles more secure and private. Chainlink oracle provides an external source of data for smart contracts, which are crucial given, crypto prices change quite often.

The integration of DECO to Chainlink protocol would allow proving the origin and state of confidential data without compromising on user’s privacy. If we look at the real-world example, the integration would let the user see the info posted by a particular account, but won’t reveal any other detail about the same. Chainlink also believes DECO could be used more broadly, especially for the defi ecosystem, and make data oracles safe and secure to use for everyone.

Sergey Nazarov, a Chainlink co-founder, commented on their recent integration and said,

“DECO enables a large expansion in the quality and breadth of data that can now be made available to public blockchain systems. There are lots of private data associated with real-world collateral, like the state of an invoice, or ownership of the real estate, or some other insured asset.

DECO-enabled Chainlink oracles will be able to prove to a smart contract that the state of the asset is solvent, without disclosing private or personal ownership information onto a public blockchain.”

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Author: James W

ConsenSys Acquires JPMorgan’s Ethereum-based Quorum for an Undisclosed Amount

Blockchain software startup ConsenSys has acquired Quorum, JPMorgan Chase’s blockchain unit, for an undisclosed amount.

The investment banking giant has also made a strategic investment in ConsenSys, the company established by the co-founder of Ethereum, Joseph Lubin, in 2014 to help build applications running on top of the second-largest blockchain network. Lubin said,

“Even before the very first block on Ethereum was mined, and ConsenSys was formed, we’ve collaborated with JPMorgan on Ethereum proofs of concept and production systems.”

There is a “commercial arrangement” for ConsenSys to support JPMorgan in their projects.

Quorum blockchain, which will remain open-source, was built internally at JPMorgan using the Ethereum network. The blockchain is used by the bank to run the Interbank Network — a payments network that already involves over 300 banks, which will continue to operate using the platform.

The Quorum team will remain at JPMorgan, and the transition will happen over the next year before it starts working on other blockchain projects.

“We believe a platform like Quorum could thrive better in the hands of a software and services-oriented organization,” said Umar Farooq, global head of blockchain at JPMorgan.

“Acquiring a blockchain sort of misses the point,” said Samantha Radocchia, author of the book “Bitcoin Pizza” about this development.

Earlier this year, ConsenSys underwent a restructuring to separate its software business form venture activities. As we reported recently, ConsenSys also owned the source code of popular Ethereum wallet MetaMask.

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Author: AnTy

ConsenSys Acquires Fluidity, the Firm Behind Peer-to-Peer AirSwap Trading Network

ConsenSys has acquired Fluidity, the firm behind peer-to-peer trading network Airswap. Airswap has been at the forefront of developing some of the industry’s first of its kind decentralized technology such as tokenization of real estate and security tokenization.

The AirSwap developer team has been instrumental in developing a roadmap and building blocks of defi ecosystem, and even though the terms of the acquisition haven’t been made public, the AirSwap team would continue to build the ecosystem with support from industry in building development after its association with the ConsenSys.

AirSwap was founded by Fluidity and ConsenSys back in 2017 and the acquisition by ConsenSys signifies their focus on developing core decentralized products in order to bring new innovative products to the market. ConsenSys is working to bring new innovative financial product and infrastructure on Ethereum blockchain.

ConsenSys code would leverage Fluidity’s core technology to power decentralized finance and commerce while AirSwap would utilize ConsenSys’s marketing and engineering to power the decentralized ecosystem.

The acquisition would see all the products and services along with the tram of Fluidity move to ConsenSys. The developer team working with AirSwap and Fluidity would continue their work in the fintech verse while ensuring frictionless trade, network growth, and new token mechanisms while working in synergy with the ConsenSys team.

Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum network and ConsenSys commented on the latest acquisition and how the synergy between two firms would help in achieving the larger goal saying,

“Bringing Fluidity fully into ConsenSys will unlock powerful synergies that we have identified over the past few months. The team has built best in class token trading technology for different niches that ConsenSys can now help bring forth at scale. We are excited to reinvigorate the longstanding close relationship.”

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Author: James W

Genesis Capital to Become the ‘Goldman Sachs’ of Crypto with Vo1t Acquisition

New York-based cryptocurrency firm Genesis Capital announced on Thursday that it has acquired Vo1t for an undisclosed amount.

With this deal, Genesis is moving to become a prime brokerage and join the likes of Fidelity Digital Assets, BitGo, and Tagomi.

The aim is “to build the preeminent prime brokerage in the digital currency ecosystem — a one-stop-shop for trading, lending, and securing digital assets for financial institutions,” said Michael Moro, Chief Executive Officer of Genesis in its official announcement.

It would be like the ‘Goldman Sachs’ in the traditional financial world, offering a full suite of services to its clients.

Race to Zero Fees

With the digital currency marketplace maturing at a rapid pace witnessing the entry of small and large financial institutions, there is a raising need for a prime broker.

Offering crypto custody to its clients will also help the company attract a wide array of institutional clients, especially those that are required to hold assets with certified custodians. Moro said,

“My view on the custody space is that it’s not a great standalone business. There’s a lot of competition, and it’s race to zero on fees.”

Its latest acquisition Vo1t is a London-based custodian with only six employees that just recently partnered with IBM’s Hyperledger and Genesis is “absolutely thrilled to have them on board.”

Grayscale to make the shift from Coinbase to Genesis?

Interestingly, Genesis that goes back to 2013 is the subsidiary of crypto conglomerate Digital Currency Group just like Grayscale.

Grayscale currently uses Coinbase for its crypto custody needs which the US-based crypto exchange fulfilled by striking a $55 million deal with Xapo last year.

Now, it’s possible that Grayscale — that holds 1.7% of all the bitcoin in the world, will move its crypto custody business from Coinbase to its sister company Genesis.

There has been no comment from Moro on this, he just told Fortune they are governed by long-term contracts.

Besides becoming prime brokers, Genesis has already started growing its international team with new offices in London and Singapore. Soon, they will be launching a derivatives trading desk and adding capital introduction capabilities for hedge funds, quant funds, asset managers, and family offices.

[Also Read: Crypto Lender, Genesis, New Loans Issuance Hits $2B In Q1 For Its Largest Quarter Ever]

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Author: AnTy