- Coinbase’s pursuit of FTX Europe, as revealed by documents reviewed by Fortune, sheds light on the exchange’s strategic expansion plans in the derivatives market, despite the talks ultimately not materializing.
- FTX Europe, despite its parent company’s bankruptcy, attracted potential buyers due to the enduring value of its license. While Coinbase expressed interest, it has since abandoned the deal, focusing on its offshore derivatives exchange and advocating for regulatory clarity in the US crypto market.
Coinbase and Crypto.com’s Pursuit of FTX Europe: Unraveling the Cryptocurrency Acquisition Drama
In the dynamic world of cryptocurrency, the pursuit of strategic acquisitions is not uncommon. Recent revelations, as reported by Fortune Magazine, have brought to light the intriguing saga of Coinbase and Crypto.com’s interest in acquiring FTX’s European entity, FTX Europe. This tantalizing glimpse into the inner workings of the crypto industry unveils a story of ambition, regulatory challenges, and the complexities of expansion.
Coinbase Interest In FTX Europe: A Derivatives Market Expansion
The story begins with Coinbase, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange listed on NASDAQ. Documents reviewed by Fortune indicate that Coinbase was keenly interested in acquiring FTX Europe, an endeavour aimed at expanding its presence in the derivatives market. The move came in the wake of FTX’s bankruptcy in November 2022, which cast a shadow of uncertainty over the industry.
FTX Europe, however, displayed resilience during these tumultuous times. Financial records from the platform revealed a continuous influx of tens of thousands of users, even as its parent company navigated bankruptcy proceedings. The key to this resilience lay in the enduring value of FTX Europe’s license, an asset that could only be transferred through acquisition. It was this allure that captured the attention of potential buyers, including Coinbase.
Messages exchanged between Coinbase and FTX Europe painted a picture of interest, with discussions stretching from shortly after FTX’s bankruptcy in November 2022 to as recently as early September 2023. However, it’s essential to note that Coinbase has since abandoned its pursuit of this potential deal, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Regulatory constraints in the United States have cast a veil of uncertainty over the crypto derivatives trading market. In response, Coinbase has been actively working on launching an offshore derivatives exchange, with a particular focus on the Asian market. Additionally, Coinbase has been vocal in advocating for regulatory clarity within the US crypto market.
FTX Europe’s Rocky Road to Acquisition
FTX Europe’s journey has been far from smooth. It came into existence by acquiring Digital Assets DA AG in 2020. Despite posting healthy profits, FTX Europe found itself entangled in the bankruptcy estate’s crossfire.
In July, the FTX debtors, led by former Enron executive John Ray III, initiated legal proceedings to recover hundreds of millions of dollars from FTX Europe’s leadership. The estate argued that the initial acquisition had been a costly misstep, with $376 million spent to acquire a $2 million operating license.
While major cryptocurrency companies have shown interest in acquiring FTX Europe in recent months, the estate has maintained that an acquisition is currently an unrealistic prospect. However, expressions of interest from Coinbase and Trek Labs have added complexity to the estate’s position, potentially leaving room for an acquisition.
In a statement shared with Fortune, a spokesperson for the FTX Debtors expressed their commitment to maximizing the value of FTX’s assets for the benefit of customer recoveries. The deadline for a proposed sale has been extended, creating a window of opportunity in this ongoing crypto acquisition drama.