Uphold, a global digital money platform has agreed to acquire New York-based broker-dealer JNK Securities Corp., in the latest move by a crypto platform to manoeuvre itself towards traditional markets.
Uphold and JNK have filed an application with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for the approval of the change of ownership and business expansion. If the deal is approved it will give JNK clients access to crypto trading, potentially bringing new institutional investors to Uphold’s platform and the larger crypto ecosystem.
“Many crypto assets (particularly ICO tokens) may be treated as securities in some cases,” Uphold Chief Executive Officer Adrian Steckel said in a statement:
“Through Uphold’s new securities division, the digital currency platform would be able to offer sales and trading of ICO tokens and fractional equities and provide other exchange services.”
Uphold, formerly known as Bitreserve, currently allows users to send and receive eight different digital coins, as well as numerous traditional currencies. The firm, which brands itself as a ‘cloud money vault,’ is not strictly a cryptocurrency exchange, is more like a bank for buying and holding different currencies, converting them into other currencies, or sending them to other members internationally. The company has offices in California, London, Portugal and Shanghai, and claims to have facilitated over $3.6bn of transactions.
Uphold’s move follows similar acquisitions by larger US cryptocurrency exchanges. Coinbase Inc. said earlier this month that it is buying a trio of firms including a broker-dealer to offer customers blockchain-based securities. The Coinbase announcement came hours after reports that Circle Internet Financial Ltd. intends to pursue registration as a brokerage and trading venue with the SEC so it can help investors buy and sell tokens deemed to be securities.
Full terms of the agreement were not disclosed with the announcement.