U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is reportedly in advanced-stage talks to buy cryptocurrency custody provider Xapo, for about $50 million. The deal’s goal would be to boost its custody business and diversify revenue sources
According to a report by crypto news outlet TheBlock, citing sources familiar with the matter, both Coinbase and Fidelity Digital Assets were ‘locked in a neck-and-neck race’ for the crypto custody firm, and Coinbase ended up coming out on top.
Fidelity Digital Assets is Fidelity Investments’ bet to bridge crypto and traditional finance. The firm is reportedly going to start buying and selling the flagship cryptocurrency bitcoin within “a few weeks.” Fidelity Investments is notably one of the largest financial firms in the world, with $7.2 trillion worth of assets under management (AUM).
Coinbase beating Fidelity to the Xapo sale, per the news outlet, shows the cryptocurrency firm is looking to “aggressively diversify its revenue to be less prone to the cyclical nature of cryptocurrency trading.”
— CryptoGlobe (@CryptoGlobeInfo) November 3, 2018
Xapo itself has raised a total of $40 million since 2012, and its main product is cold storage vault custody of BTC. According to the report it has $5.5 billion of assets under custody (AUC), which means it has over 700,000 BTC under custody. Bloomberg has in the past reported the company held $10 billion, 7% of BTC’s supply, in its vaults.
The crypto custody firm’s business model revolves around generating revenue enabling over-the-counter (OTC) trades for customers using the bitcoin it has under custody, as it doesn’t charge users to store their funds in its cold storage.
The company has seen firms like the Digital Currency Group, Winklevoss Capital, and Blockchain Capital invest in it, as well as top Silicon Valley VC firms like Greylock Partners and Index Ventures.
If the deal goes through, Xapo will join a number of companies Coinbase has acquired over the last few months. These include Earn and Toshi, which turned to Coinbase Earn and Coinbase Wallet. Earlier this year the firm acquired analytics company Neutrino in a controversial move, as its team was associated with Hacking Team, a group that’s said to have developed software that aided human rights abuses.