Kevin O’Leary-Backed WonderFi Acquires Bitbuy
Decentralized finance company WonderFi Technologies has acquired Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Bitbuy in a deal of $161.8 million in cash and shares, the companies announced Tuesday.
Bitbuy, which became Canada’s first approved cryptocurrency marketplace in November 2021 has added more than 375,000 users and transacted more than $4.4 billion since its launch in 2016.
“This is a very important transaction for WonderFi’s future,” said Kevin O’Leary, an entrepreneur and WonderFi advisor and investor. “When you think about customer acquisition, you want to make sure that you provide every opportunity to service that customer… you want to offer every service they want.”
WonderFi will now own and operate the Bitbuy cryptocurrency marketplace and over-the-top business, which services both retail and institutional clients. The acquisition will help the cryptocurrency exchange expand more into DeFi offerings, which Bitbuy president Dean Skurka said is the future of the industry.
“We want to always be where the puck is going and DeFi is certainly representative of the future of finance and the future of crypto,” Skurka said.
Bitbuy will merge with the WonderFi retail app, providing greater opportunities for client trading and transactions, Skurka said.
The WonderFi and Bitbuy teams look forward to expanding offerings to both retail and institutional clients, but O’Leary said 2022 will be a significant year for institutional adoption in particular.
“I spend the majority of my day speaking with institutions,” he said. “One of the great opportunities here is that many of them have not yet got clearance to buy crypto assets for a wide range of reasons, some of it has to do with ESG issues, some of it has to do with compliance and regulation.”
Bitbuy is a broad platform that will allow institutional investors to purchase crypto-related equities, opening the door for institutions to gain exposure to the asset class.
“We’ve been a retail-focused app primarily over the last four years, in terms of products,” Skurka said. “On the back of this marketplace license and now with this acquisition, we’ve been focusing more on institutional clientele.”
The acquisition is expected to close during the first quarter of 2022. Skurka will be appointed to the board upon closing. O’Leary joined the WonderFi team in June 2021 as a strategic investor following the close of a financing round.
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