A group of South Korean investors is reportedly in discussions to acquire Bitstamp, a EU-licensed digital currency exchange, The New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper tweeted yesterday, citing highly placed sources with knowledge of the matter.
Bitstamp did not respond to a request for comment on the pending transaction. At press time, industry news outlets were also unable to confirm the terms of the deal.
Along with all the other news about virtual currency exchanges, I’ve heard from numerous sources that one of the oldest exchanges, Bitstamp, is in the final stages of being sold to South Korean investors for ~$400m. Neither the exchange nor the buyers are commenting.
— Nathaniel Popper (@nathanielpopper) March 22, 2018
At first blush, the matchup is at least somewhat surprising for Bitstamp’s users. The news received varying reactions from market observers, with remarks divided between those who saw Bitstamp’s sale as a boon for an industry still trying to strengthen its presence against regulatory headwinds, and those who felt that Bitstamp may face more hurdles in its attempt to offer services throughout Asia due to lack of familiarity with regulations.
However, there are similarities between Europe and South Korea, as well. For one thing, the financial regulators in both jurisdictions are intensifying the search for ways to regulate cryptocurrencies, which could make any possible relocation more complicated.
Bitstamp is currently ranked 11th in terms of total trade volume, according to the latest data provided by CoinMarketCap.
Earlier in December, Bitstamp has been appointed as a new partner for European digital banking outfit Revolut to facilitate cryptocurrency purchases for its more than half a million users. Bitstamp won the role of cryptocurrencies supplier over other digital exchanges thanks to its ability to tailor its model to suit Revolut.
In 2016, Bitstamp received a publicity boost after it has obtained a license to operate as a fully regulated payment institution (PI) in Luxembourg. At the time, Bitstamp touted the license as one that enables it to become the first fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange in Europe.