Bankman-Fried Belies Bear, Bids for Bitvo

The Bahamas-based firm agreed to acquire Canadian crypto exchange Bitvo for an undisclosed sum


key takeaways

  • FTX’s acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022
  • CEO Sam Bankman-Fried earlier told Blockworks he expects a wave of M&A activity throughout the market downturn

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX has struck an agreement to acquire Canadian cryptoasset trading firm Bitvo, the company announced, Friday.

FTX didn’t disclose the terms of the deal. The announcement comes during a period of turmoil in the cryptocurrency industry, with asset prices extending losses in a broad sell-off for several days. Companies in the space, including Celsius, Three Arrows Capital and Babel Finance, have all disclosed liquidity issues, raising fears that more turbulence might be in store for investors.

The Bahamas-based firm noted that Bitvo secured the first license to offer cryptoasset trading services across Canada. It is also registered with the intelligence agency Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.

“Canada has shown a growing interest in digital asset trading, and we’re thrilled to help provide entry into one of the leading regulated crypto asset trading platforms in the world to the Canadian cryptocurrency community,” Bitvo CEO Pamela Draper said in a statement.

Alberta-based Bitvo will be integrated into FTX after the acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. 

FTX’s valuation rose to $32 billion after raising $400 million in its third fundraising round within six months in January, indicating that it is well placed to make acquisitions in the space.

CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told Blockworks in April that difficult market conditions could trigger a wave of mergers and acquisitions, and that it “wouldn’t be totally shocking” for the company to acquire some shrinking exchanges.

In May, Bankman-Fried personally bought a 7.6% stake in trading platform Robinhood. In June, FTX expanded into Japan following its acquisition of a local fintech Liquid Group and its subsidiaries, in a bid to navigate the stringent regulatory environment in the country.

A recent report from crypto research firm Kaiko shows bitcoin trading volumes on FTX exceeded Coinbase’s for the first time in May.

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