Crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX is making big moves in Europe. One of its subsidiaries, BXM Operations AG, just went out and bought a bank in Germany. We’re at that stage of the adoption cycle. In their announcement press release, BitMEX says they acquired the bank with “the ambitious goal of establishing a one-stop shop for regulated crypto products in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and thus becoming a strong player in Europe.” Boom!
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The company, “founded by our CEO Alexander Höptner and CFO Stephan Lutz,” already paid and signed the documents.
“BXM Operations AG and Bankhaus von der Heydt’s current owner, Dietrich von Boetticher, have signed a purchase agreement, which will be completed only with BaFin’s regulatory approval. The transaction is expected to be complete in mid-2022.”
The BaFin is the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, “an independent federal institution with headquarters in Bonn and Frankfurt. It “falls under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Finance,” according to Wikipedia.
What Do BitMEX ‘s Executives Say About The Deal?
The company’s CEO, Alexander Höptner, claims:
“Through combining the regulated digital assets expertise of Bankhaus von der Heydt with the crypto innovation and scale of BitMEX, I believe we can create a regulated crypto products powerhouse in the heart of Europe.”
— Bitcoin Magazine (@BitcoinMagazine) January 18, 2022
And the CFO Stephan Lutz further elaborates:
“Germany, as the largest economy in Europe, combines an innovative approach to digital assets with strong regulatory oversight and rule of law – making it a prime market for BitMEX’s expansion in Europe.”
The acquisition aligns with the company’s overall strategy. They recently launched “BitMEX Link in Europe, an innovative brokerage service based in Switzerland that facilitates trading in digital assets.” On their website, they describe it as a “platform that enables traders to maximize the opportunities of 24/7 crypto markets. As the world transitions away from the analog finance systems of the past, we make the future accessible to all.”
Past Trouble With The Law
BitMEX’s obsession with regulation and compliance comes from trauma. In October 2020, the CFTC raised charges against the company for taking US customers without implementing Anti-Money Laundering measures and Know Your Customers procedures. The result? As reported by Bitcoinist:
“BitMEX will have to pay $100 million in civil monetary penalty according to an additional agreement accepted by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The order issued by the court forbids the crypto platform from “further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC’s regulations.”
Since then, BitMEX put effort into being squeaky clean.
What Do We Know About Bankhaus Von Der Heydt?
The bank is 268 years old. On their website, they reminisce about the past:
“Since our founding in 1754 we look back on an eventful history. As early as 1835, we carried out one of the first securities issues in Germany. With the help of this issue, the cornerstone was laid for the expansion of the Prussian railway network.
Today, we are one of the first banks to use blockchain technology to break new ground in the financial world.”
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The bank already offers a range of services based on “blockchain technology.” That interest in the subject might’ve been what attracted BitMEX in the first place. In any case, let’s wait for BaFin’s approval before celebrating the landmark acquisition.
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