Bitstamp Insists Things Remain the Same After the Exchange is Acquired by a Belgian Investment Firm

News and Analysis

NXMH, a Belgium-based investment company, has acquired Bitstamp, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the European Union by volume, it was announced on Monday, October 29.

Bitstamp CEO Nejc Kodrič declined to disclose terms of the deal, which was signed on October 25. He added, that the exchange has been courted by various suitors for quite some time, but the decision to sell was made based on the “quality of the buyer, the quality of the offer and the fact that the industry is at a point where consolidation makes sense.”

“Bitstamp has been regularly approached by suitors for quite some time. The reason why we finally decided to sell the company is a combination of the quality of the buyer, the quality of the offer and the fact that the industry is at a point where consolidation makes sense. A major factor in agreeing to the sale is that the mission, leadership and vision of the company remains the same,” the announcement says.

NXMH, with assets under management of more than 2 billion euros, is the European subsidiary of South Korea-based NXC, which invests in digital technologies. The latter also owns South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Korbit, however, Bitstamp and Korbit will operate independently.

“I want to assure you that Bitstamp remains Bitstamp. We will continue to innovate with the goal of giving our customers the absolute best trading experience. It is business as usual here. We do anticipate that this acquisition will strengthen Bitstamp’s positioning for growth, which will provide opportunities to better serve our customers. Customers should not have any concerns about their accounts or changes to the way we operate,” added Kodrič.

Through the purchase, NXMH acquires an 80 percent stake in Bitstamp. Kodrič retains a 10 percent ownership interest in the exchange and will continue as CEO. Pantera Capital Management LP, which made a $10 million investment in the company in 2014, also sold part of its stake in Bitstamp to NXMH.

Bitstamp was founded by Nejc Kodrič and Damian Merlak in 2011, first based out of Slovenia, in a garage with just a server, a couple of laptops, and a thousand euros in capital. Since that the exchange has grown to over than 3 million registered customers.

In April 2016, Bitstamp became the first nationally licensed Bitcoin exchange in the world after receiving a payment institution license in Luxembourg. Under the European Union’s “passport” program, which allows financial services providers legally established in one member state to operate in others, Bitstamp, is also licensed across all 28 European Union countries.

Like any other player in the industry, Bitstamp has been affected by the current decline in cryptocurrency prices. Kodrič said volume has been down between 60-70 percent, but pointed out that Bitstamp remained profitable in 2018 because current cryptocurrency prices were still much higher than they were for most of last year.

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