Crypto exchange Bitget acquired a controlling stake in crypto wallet BitKeep with an additional $30 million investment at a $300 million valuation.
"The investment in the wallet is an important move for Bitget as it will expand its business territory to the wallet sector and help it provide native storage and asset management services," Bitget said in a statement.
The controlling stake is well above 51%, Bitget's managing director Gracy Chen told The Block in an interview. She declined to comment on the specific stake percentage and how much Bitget has previously invested in BitKeep. But she noted that Bitget invested in BitKeep in 2021 and 2022 without making the information public.
The acquisition of a controlling stake comes amid crypto and bank collapses. Chen said the demand for non-custodial wallets has jumped due to recent events like the bankruptcy of FTX and will continue to grow, and that's why it made a deal with BitKeep. "It is also part of our new 'go beyond derivatives' strategy to offer DeFi and other services," Chen said.
Bitget was founded in 2018 as a futures trading platform and now also provides a copy trading platform. The company serves 8 million users, mainly from Asia, Latin America and Europe, said Chen.
"We are the largest web3 wallet in Asia with around 9.5 million users," Moka Han, chief operating officer of BitKeep, said in an interview. BitKeep's monthly active users have jumped to 1.6 million, and its total transaction volume to date has crossed $4 billion, Han said.
BitKeep's rapid growth in recent months is the main reason for a big jump in its valuation, according to Han. The wallet provider was valued at $100 million in May last year when it raised $15 million in Series A funding.
Similar to Binance and Trust Wallet?
Bitget's BitKeep deal can be seen as similar to Binance's purchase of Trust Wallet in 2018, according to Chen. But she said that Bitget does not plan to challenge Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange.
"Crypto is a big industry and instead of cutting pies from them, we would much like to grow the pie together," Chen said.
BitKeep will continue to operate as an independent entity, said Han. The wallet plans to add more features, including support for ZK-rollup-based Layer 2 networks, and ultimately aims to onboard the next 1 billion users to crypto, Han said.
As part of the Bitget deal, Kevin Como, BitKeep's pseudonymous CEO, is stepping down and Karry Cheung, the current chief product officer of BitKeep, is getting promoted to CEO, Han said.
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