The move by Circle Internet Financial, a cryptocurrency start-up backed by Goldman Sachs, to acquire the Poloniex cryptocurrency exchange is one that should have everyone from the dark corners of blockchain to Wall Street wondering what comes next.
The value of the deal has yet to be confirmed, but some reports have cited sources saying that this buy would run Circle around $400 million.
The price tag, though, is a drop in the bucket for what it could all mean for the cryptocurrency market.
Circle uses the blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin to provide peer-to-peer payment services, but it also offers over-the-counter bitcoin trading.
Add Poloniex into the mix and you get something potentially much bigger. Poloniex is the 14th largest exchange by 24-hour volume. It was also the first exchange to offer large-scale cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency trading.
Its claims to fame don’t end there, either: It was also the first exchange to reach $1 billion in daily volume.
Now, Circle can take control over a marketplace that has a trade volume of around $1.5 million per day, with around 70 different digital currencies and tokens traded.
And Poloniex, for its part, gets cash and the opportunity to expand operations and infrastructure.
In other words, with this acquisition, a picture emerges of a potential new competitor to the leading U.S. exchanges right now: Coinbase and Kraken.
But there’s an even bigger picture: This is our first real glimpse of consolidation moves in the crypto trading space, leading analysts to wonder what acquisitions we might expect next.
Crypto market enthusiasts view this is a good sign of things to come for the nascent industry.
Some will go as far as to suggest that the development signals that banks are getting serious about cryptocurrency. Indeed, the fact that Circle is a start-up backed by Goldman Sachs was not long on anyone.
Leading crypto coins certainly loved the news. Bitcoin continued to revive itself with an upward climb over $10,600 on Tuesday, and most credit the Circle acquisition news for the renewed crypto confidence.
According to CoinMarketCap.com, total cryptocurrency market capitalization has grown from $20 billion at the start of last year to some $500 billion in the past few weeks.
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Confidence has hit a few bumps in the road, but it hasn’t waned. The numbers speak volumes. Investors dumped $1.06 billion into crypto last year. This year, so far, it’s at $323 million, but we’re only in February, and possibly at the start of a big consolidation game.
By David Craggen for Safehaven.com
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