By Josiah Wilmoth
Bitstamp, one of the world?s oldest bitcoin exchanges, is rumored to be close to agreeing to an acquisition offer from a South Korean investment group.
Citing ?numerous sources,? New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper stated on Twitter that the investors ? about whom nothing is known aside from their nationality ? had made an offer in the range of $400 million and that the privately-held Bitstamp was either close to agreeing to or had already consented to the offer.
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
Founded in 2011 as a European alternative to infamous (and now-defunct) Tokyo-based exchange Mt. Gox, Bitstamp has been headquartered variously in Slovenia and the UK, though it is now based out of fintech-friendly Luxembourg.
The reported sale amount struck many readers as low since it is comparable to the sum that fintech firm Circle reportedly paid for US-based cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex in an acquisition announced earlier this month, even though Bitstamp would appear at face value to be a more attractive asset.
For starters, the exchange tends to see more trading volume than Poloniex. Over the past 24 hours, Bitstamp has processed $183 million worth of trades, while Poloniex has processed $71 million, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
Bloomberg estimates that Bitstamp nets at least $389,000 in trading revenue per day, more than five times that of Poloniex?s $69,000 in daily revenue.
Additionally, Bitstamp has taken more steps to achieve and maintain regulatory compliance than Poloniex had at the time of its acquisition. When European banking group Swissquote decided to start offering cryptocurrency investing to its clients, for example, it tapped Bitstamp to be its partner in this venture.
Moreover, Bitstamp is one of a relatively small number of exchanges that offer fiat-to-cryptocurrency trading pairs.
Bitstamp did fall prey to a hack in 2015, resulting in the theft of approximately 19,000 BTC, worth approximately $5 million at the time of the theft. However, hacks are not rare in this industry (Poloniex also lost funds in a 2014 incident), and the company has had no further security breaches and is generally considered to be one of the most trustworthy trading platforms.
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