Following a month of rumours regarding the sale of Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp to an unknown South Korean investor, the possible name of the possible buyer is revealed by anonymous sources to be video game developer Nexon.
Nexon is a video game company from South Korea, famous for developing games such as FIFA Online and Counter-Strike. Founded in 1995, it moved its headquarters to Tokyo in 2005 but maintains offices in South Korea, the US, Taiwan and Thailand.
The company’s $1.2 billion initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December 2011 was Japan’s largest in that year and the second largest by a technology company worldwide.
It purchased 65 percent of cryptocurrency exchange Korbit in September 2017, which could be seen as indicating a plan to enter the cryptocurrency industry.
Luxembourg-based Bitstamp is the tenth busiest cryptocurrency exchange as of now with $444 million in 24 hour trading volume, according to coinmarketcap.com.
At the grand old age of seven it is the oldest of the cryptocurrency exchanges. It was founded in Slovenia by Nejc Kodrič, later moving registration to the UK and then to Luxembourg. It obtained its payment institution licence in that country in 2016.
It was among the first to offer Bitcoin debit cards, which it did in May 2015. In July 2017 it partnered with the Swiss brokerage Swissquote, allowing the latter to begin offering Bitcoin trading to its customers. At that point Bitstamp was the only cryptocurrency exchange licensed to operate in the EU.
The matter was originally mentioned by an individual named Nathaniel Popper. Popper is a journalist for the New York Times and author of a best-selling book about Bitcoin. He posted on Twitter:
“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.”
Popper’s post caused people to speculate as to who the buyer could be. Business Insider reported today that the buyer is Nexon, and the price “about $350 million”, citing anonymous sources
In response to request of contact Bitstamp said: “I am not in the position to comment on the matter. We kindly ask you to keep an eye out for any official statement from our side on the topic of your inquiry.”