Galaxy To Buy Custody Platform From Bankrupt Celsius

Galaxy is hoping to use the firm’s custody solutions as the company develops its prime offering for institutional investors


Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz | Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel


Galaxy Digital is planning to buy GK8 from Celsius Network, which filed for bankruptcy in July after the crash of Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin. 

GK8 is an institutional digital asset self-custody platform. Galaxy looks to use the firm’s custody solution as it develops GalaxyOne — an offering that seeks to provide trading, lending, cross-portfolio margining, and derivatives to institutional investors.

“The acquisition of GK8 is a crucial cornerstone in our effort to create a truly full-service financial platform for digital assets, ensuring our clients will have the option to store their digital assets at or separate from Galaxy without compromising versatility and functionality,” Galaxy CEO Mike Novogratz said in a statement.

Celsius signed an agreement to acquire GK8 in November 2021 for $115 million. GK8 was to continue functioning as an independent business after the deal.

Galaxy was selected as the winning bidder for GK8 in connection with Celsius’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the firm said Friday. The sale is subject to court approvals.

Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, though a Galaxy spokesperson told Blockworks: “The purchase price is materially less than what GK8 was previously purchased for.” 

The representative added that Galaxy will update its clients on the progress of GalaxyOne in future quarters. 

The reported planned acquisition comes several months after Galaxy terminated its deal to buy Palo Alto custodian BitGo. Novogratz had revealed at the time the company’s intention to offer “a prime solution that truly makes Galaxy a one-stop shop for institutions.”   

Galaxy Digital said during its third quarter earnings call last month that despite having about $77 million of exposure to crashed crypto exchange FTX, it had $1.5 billion in liquidity, including $1 billion in cash.

Galaxy, which recently laid off 14% of its staff, is set to add a team of about 40 people as a result of the intended acquisition. GK8 founders CEO Lior Lamesh and Chief Technology Officer Shahar Shamai will lead Galaxy’s new custodial technologies business.

“With the backing of Galaxy, we aim to introduce new and exciting offerings to the industry that showcase a combination of Galaxy’s best-in-class services and GK8’s cryptography, security, and unparalleled R&D skills,” Lamesh said in a statement.

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