Bitstamp Is Looking Towards ‘Global Expansion’ After Being Acquired by South Korean Investors

On October 29, the cryptocurrency exchange, Bitstamp, was acquired by Belgium-based investment firm NXMH, which in turn, is owned by South Korean media conglomerate NXC Corp.

The Luxembourg-registered exchange is now controlled by the same company that bought the majority stake in the South Korean crypto exchange, Korbit, last year, while its CEO remains in office to continue with Bitstamp’s “global expansion.”

Brief history of Bitstamp, Europe’s oldest and most legally compliant crypto exchange

Bitstamp was launched in August 2011 by Nejc Kodrič and Damijan Merlak in their native Slovenia. As Kodrič recalled in an interview, their business started out in a garage “with an initial capital of just a thousand euros, two laptops and a server.” The idea to open up an exchange came to the entrepreneurs after they experienced difficulties buying Bitcoin in Europe.

As they told Forbes, when they were originally registering their exchange with a Slovenian bank in 2011, it didn’t object because people in Slovenia “didn’t know what Bitcoin was.” In April 2013, Kodrič and Merlak outsourced support, compliance, and legal needs to the U.K., because they couldn’t do all the screening "necessary to keep bad guys out" in their home country. Bitstamp was now a UK registered limited company.

In 2016, Bitstamp became Europe’s first fully legal crypto exchange after it received a license from Luxembourg to operate as a payment institution. To receive the document, the exchange went through two years of various checks, including an audit by Ernst & Young. Being a compliant business, Bitstamp has stuck to strict Know-Your-Customer (