By Elizabeth Howcroft
LONDON (Reuters) – Cryptocurrency lender Nexo plans to buy fellow lender Vauld, it said on Tuesday, in the latest sign of consolidation in the digital currency industry as prices fall.
London-based Nexo said it would buy up to 100% of Vauld and “reshape its future operations with the aim of accelerating its deeper presence in Asia”. He did not say when the deal would be done.
Singapore-based Vauld said on Monday it had suspended withdrawals for its more than 800,000 customers.
Nexo aims to “provide immediate assistance and mitigate the withdrawal limitations put in place on Vauld’s platform,” the statement said.
Nexo did not say how much it plans to pay for Vauld.
Acting as unregulated banks for the crypto world, crypto lenders accept deposits from retail investors, offering returns of up to 20%, and lend digital tokens to borrowers.
Crypto lending has boomed over the past two years, but has stalled in recent months following a crash in cryptocurrency prices and the collapse of major token TerraUSD in May.
US lender Celsius, which held more than $11 billion in assets, stopped allowing customer withdrawals and transfers in June, citing extreme market conditions. Another lender, Voyager, suspended withdrawals last week.
Vauld CEO Darshan Bathija told a newspaper in May https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/money-and-banking/cryptocurrency/crypto-exchange-vauld-eyes-five-fold-aum-growth-to -5-billion-this-fiscal-ceo/article65385328.ece that he had $1 billion in assets under management.
In a Monday blog post https://www.vauld.com/blog/corporate-statement, Vauld said he was facing “financial challenges” due to volatile market conditions, “financial difficulties of our major trading partners inevitably affecting us”. and customers who have withdrawn about $200 million since June 12.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Louise Heavens and Bernadette Baum)