Korean cryptocurrency exchange Korbit has been acquired by NXT, the parent company of PC and mobile video games giant Nexon (TYO: 3659).
With rumors circulating in the market that Korbit was sold for as much as $150 million, an NXT representative today confirmed to TechCrunch that it paid 91.3 billion KRW (about $80 million) for 65.19% of its shares, giving the exchange a valuation of over $120 million.
Founded in 1994 in Seoul, Nexon is now headquartered in Tokyo where its stock is traded. It had revenues of over ¥180 billion ($1.625 billion) in 2016 and employs over 5500 people around the world.
Considering Nexon’s focus on the East Asian online video games market, the acquisition of Korbit could signify a number of things. The company might want to use cryptocurrencies as a form of a micropayments system to support its business while bypassing the costs of traditional solutions. An exchange would provide the gateway for its clients.
Another possible reason for the move is that it wants to compete in Japan with all the other online giants that are entering the race such as GMO Internet and DMM.com. In that case it is possible that after getting its own exchange, NXT will also embark on a Bitcoin mining operation to support its liquidity as its Japanese competitors have announced they are doing.
Alternatively, Nexon could be just focused on the Korean cryptocurrency trading market, which has been seeing amazing growth in global market share since the Chinese regulators started limiting exchanges in China.