Disney might be getting into the crypto business, but not for the reason you might think. While crypto exchanges can be lucrative enterprises, Disney’s bid at crypto brokerage is just part of a larger acquisition now in the works.
Disney has been offered a controlling interest in NXC, a South Korean holding company that just so happens to own Bitstamp and Korbit through a subsidiary. Bitstamp of Luxembourg is the world’s oldest cryptocurrency exchange and is one of the largest global trading sites by volume. Korbit is the second-largest crypto exchange in South Korea. The two exchanges had £45 billion and £7.5 billion in their recent 24-hour volume, respectively.
The offer comes courtesy of South Korean billionaire, NXC chairman Jung-Ju Kim. Jung-Ju and his wife hold a massive 98.64% stake in NXC. NXC, in turn, owns 47.02% of Nexon (a South Korean online gaming company). Bitstamp and Korbit belong to Nexon.
So, in the same way that Marge Simpson is now a Disney princess (due to Disney’s recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox), Bitstamp and Korbit may soon be Disney enterprises. Of course, the deal won’t be done until the middle of May, and there are other bidders at the table, including China’s Tencent, South Korean internet monolith Kakao, Bain Capital, MBK Partners and KKR. However, there is reason to believe that Jung-Ju is going to go with Disney.
Bitstamp is one of South Korea’s strongest Bitcoin exchanges. Image: Primakov/Shutterstock.com
Jung-Ju has voiced a very strong preference for Disney, expressing admiration for the entertainment giant’s role in the world. He says “they do not force money out of kids … (consumers) gladly pay Disney. Nexon has a long way to go. Some people hate Nexon to death”. This last bit is perhaps in reference to DLC or other hated gaming company practices, which can be found in some of Nexon’s flagship IP, such as Dungeon Fighter Online and MapleStory.
NXC has numerous other holdings, many of which pertain to media for consumer applications like smartphones, smart TVs, and computers. Viewed from this vantage point, the acquisition of Bitstamp and Korbit could be just an afterthought in a much larger buy. On the other hand, Disney may view its new crypto play as a potential cash cow.
It’s likely that this deal will be solidified within the coming weeks. In the months to follow, we’ll learn the true extent of Disney’s interest in the crypto space. Fortunately for those of us always looking for mainstream adoption, Bitstamp is among the global cryptocurrency exchanges most well known for authentic trading volume and ethical business practices. If Disney were to jump into the world of crypto, Bistamp would certainly be a sensible acquisition.
Will other major corporations follow suit, buying up crypto exchanges of their own? Or will Disney soon forget about Bitstamp and Korbit as irrelevant clingers-on to its South Korean entertainment play? Only time will tell, but it’s certainly encouraging to see trusted crypto exchanges identified as valuable global assets, even when bundled with other, more conventional businesses.
Featured image: YANLEI LI/Shutterstock.com