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Two Front-Runners Emerge in Race to Buy Exchanges Bitstamp and Korbit

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read

Kakao Group-led consortium emerges as one of two frontrunners in forthcoming Nexen sale Gaming company Netmarble also interested Korbit closes down its American subsidiary Bitstamp USA wins BitLicense in New York

Source: iStock/Dirima

Two consortiums led, respectively, by South Korean internet giant Kakao Group and game developer Netmarble, have emerged as the frontrunners in the bidding to buy the Nexon (NXC) business empire. NXC’s holdings include cryptocurrency exchanges Korbit and Bitstamp. Korbit is one of the country’s “big four” exchanges, while Bitstamp is Europe’s oldest platform.

Per Newsway, China’s giant Tencent also remains interested in the NXC empire, which also comprises gaming and babycare brands. NXC’s asking price reportedly remains in the USD 8.8 billion range. However, the Kakao- and Netmarble-fronted consortiums are expected to lead the race.

In January, when first details about the sale emerged, reported that Kakao Group, Netmarble and Tencent might be among potential suitors.

If successful, Kakao would find itself at the head of a vast crypto-and-blockchain business network. The company has previously made significant investments in Dunamu, the operator of the Upbit exchange, another “big four” trading platform. Kakao also operates its own blockchain subsidiary, Ground X, which has developed the Klaytn platform. Rumors continue to circulate that the company may seek to launch a token of its own one day to integrate with its Kakao Pay e-payment platform, as well as its online banking services.

Netmarble is also a keen blockchain and cryptocurrency proponent, and there has been media talk of a possible Netmarble Coin in the pipelines.

Meanwhile, Korbit has also revealed that it has closed down its American business arm. The company had hoped to expand into the North American crypto-sphere through its Korbit USA subsidiary, but says the shrinking market and long bear market has forced it to shelve its plans. Korbit USA was established in 2017, just after NXC had completed its takeover of Korbit.

Per News1, a NXC spokesperson stated, “We made the business decision to close down the American corporation, but have no plans to sell Korbit.”

Meanwhile, Bitstamp’s own American subsidiary has won a “BitLicense” trading permit from the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), the state’s financial regulator.

According to a DFS statement, Bitstamp USA is now allowed to buy and sell Bitcoin and altcoins, and transfer funds onto the Ripple Network, issuing Ripple Balances in USD, other cryptocurrencies, and conventional foreign currencies, including euros, yen, Australian dollars, UK pounds and Swiss francs.