Leading U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase pursued the acquisition of failed coin trading competitor FTX’s European subsidiary, a media report revealed. The move has been seen as proof of the growing importance of derivatives for the American platform’s plan to expand business globally.
Coinbase Held Talks to Acquire FTX Europe After Bankruptcy and in September
Coinbase has looked into the potential acquisition of FTX’s entity in Europe, according to documents seen by Fortune. The U.S.-based digital assets exchange explored the option to buy the Cyprus-licensed platform both right after FTX filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States last November and as recently as early September.
“Coinbase’s interest in FTX Europe demonstrates the growing importance of derivatives to its global business plan as spot trading volumes have tumbled during the bear market,” the magazine commented while noting the talks never reached a late stage and quoting a person familiar with the matter who said that the American company is no longer pursuing such deal.
The report further points out that the financial instruments based on the value of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin (BTC) and ethereum (ETH) now form a significant portion of crypto trading, reaching a volume six times larger than the volume of spot trades in the second quarter of 2023, as per data from crypto analytics firm Kaiko Research.
The regulatory future of crypto derivatives remains uncertain in the U.S. while the EU is yet to implement its own comprehensive set of regulations under the newly adopted Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) law. FTX Europe, bought for $376 million in 2021, was the only platform offering crypto derivatives called perpetual futures on the Old Continent before FTX’s collapse.
In a blog post analyzing the regulatory environments in key markets around the world earlier this month, Coinbase confirmed its plans to expand in jurisdictions that are adopting clear regulations for the sector, including in Europe, as opposed to the United States which has been enforcing existing rules and new regulation through courts, according to the exchange.
Fortune also cited the financials of FTX Europe indicating that the platform continued to add tens of thousands of users until the crash of its parent company. With the FTX debtors’ estate selling parts of FTX, the value of its European license has drawn interest from other potential buyers as well such as a crypto firm called Trek Labs. The deadline for offers has been extended to Sept. 24, according to another source quoted in the article.