Source: @Cryptotplusd via Twitter
Following reports at the end of last year that Bitcoin’s value had reached record highs, interest in the currency and other similar cryptocurrencies has probably never been higher. Arguably nothing highlights this more than the news that one of the oldest exchanges currently in operation is on the cusp of being bought in a major multimillion-dollar deal.
At the end of March, New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper revealed that Bitstamp was close to agreeing an acquisition deal worth in the region of $400 million with investors based in South Korea. The news has gone on to capture a lot of attention in several ways, not least because of how little seems to be known about the mysterious buyers. In addition, industry commentators such as Strategic Coin suggested the exchange’s apparent price tag was perhaps a little low, as it is similar to the figure paid for rival exchange Poloniex despite Bitstamp having both more trading volume and revenue.
Taking that out of the equation for a second, however, news of the deal is undoubtedly huge for one of the oldest bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges in the world and probably the biggest platform of its kind in western Europe. In particular, it is a huge moment to reflect on the work undertaken by its founders Damijan Merlak and Nejc Kodric.
According to a recent Bitstamp review, the two Slovenian college dropouts started the organisation back in 2011 as a rival to the Mt Gox exchange in Japan and saw its user figures rise significantly following the collapse of that exchange at the start of 2014. From such humble beginnings, the exchange – which moved to London in April 2013 and then onto Luxembourg in 2016 – has grown to become a hugely respected part of the cryptocurrency world.
Busy few months
News of the potential acquisition has come in what has been a rather busy few months for the exchange. At the end of last year, Kodric’s transparency about delays and new user sign-ups was welcomed by sites including NewsBTC.com after he admitted in a tweet that Bitstamp was receiving more than 100,000 new registration requests every day and doing its best to keep up with that level of demand.
In November, the exchange also confirmed it was launching bitcoin cash trading in response to requests from users and investigating the likelihood of further demand in the future.
A positive future?
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies continue to raise eyebrows in the financial world due to their volatile nature and doubts regarding whether the concepts really have a long-term future. However, the suggestion that a leading exchange could be on the cusp of being sold for a sum in the region of $400 million hints that the next few months and years are looking fairly bright at least.
It will be fascinating to see what the acquisition means for Bitstamp in the long term and whether, ultimately, the deal will keep the exchange in the strong position that it has now occupied for a number of years.