The bitcoin exchange industry is widely considered to be in a process of transition, with big players stepping in and acquisitions leading to greater consolidation. As such it is not surprising to hear that Bitstamp is on the shelf, although a rumored buyer now denies it.
Nexon Korea Denial
Lee Jung-hun, the CEO of Nexon Korea, has denied reports that the company is engaged in negotiations to acquire the cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp. Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday at the company’s headquarters in Pangyo, South Korea he reportedly said: “Nexon Korea does not have anything to do with a Bitstamp acquisition.” The CEO added that: “We do not have any plans to link cryptocurrencies with our game business.”
Nexon is an online gaming giant established in Seoul back in 1994, which moved its headquarters to Japan in 2005 and went public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2011 (TYO: 3659), and now employs close to 6000 people. Its parent company, NXC Corp., has acquired a controlling stake in one of Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Korbit, back in September 2017. Considering this, it is technically possible that NXT is in talks to buy a part of Bitstamp too, and that Nexon Korea is just not involved, but the CEO gave no indication that that is the case.
Bitstamp Acquisition Rumors
Founded in 2011 as a European-focused bitcoin exchange, Bitstamp is considered to be the longest surviving cryptocurrency exchange to date. The rumors about its acquisition by Nexon Korea appear to have started with a report by Business Insider that Bitstamp is up for sale and that the South Korean gaming company is in pole position to acquire it. The price according to the report is said to be about $350 million, citing two people familiar with the deal.
If Bitstamp will indeed by acquired by a Korean group that will not be very surprising. The cryptocurrency exchange business has seen a lot of rapid changes recently, especially in the Far East where established internet conglomerates see an urgent need to enter the space before they miss the boat as regulators are stepping in and making it harder on smaller companies to get licensed. Most recently Coincheck exchange has decided to sell the company to one of the largest online securities trading companies in the Japan, Monex.
Do you believe the CEO of Nexon Korea that nothing is going on with Bitstamp? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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