Crypto Acquisitions up Over 200% in 2018, Despite Bear Market

Colin Muller

The implosion in cryptoasset prices during 2018 has not deterred investors and companies from dipping their toes into the inchoate industry. Curiously, the opposite is true, according to a report compiled by JMP Securities, using data from analytics service PitchBook.

Based on these findings, the number of overall acquisitions is up over 200% over last year, with 115 so far in 2018 versus 47 in all of 2017. Although there is no comprehensive data on how much was paid for all of these acquisitions, $100 million deals are reportedly not uncommon, even low.

JMP illustrates a buyer’s market, in which very promising projects may be undervalued because of the depressed state of cryptoasset prices in general. "Even for great businesses, the value of the token remains correlated to bitcoin, which can create an ideal opportunity for strategic acquirers”, said Satya Bajpai of JMP.

Recent acquisitions are both between cryptoasset companies, and between crypto-focused and (more) traditional entities. Recent examples of the latter category include TRON and Bittorrent ($120 million), BK Global and Bithumb ($353 million), and Ticketmaster and Upgraded (price unknown). Binance’s acquisition of Trust Wallet, on the other hand, is an example of a brave new crypto-on-crypto world.

Bajpai's assertion, that tokens' prices are often (somewhat irrationally) correlated to bitcoin's price, seems mostly uncontroversial. Recent studies of the subject have found that the entire cryptoasset market is these days tending to move together - that is, move with bitcoin - although some past analyses have shown more variance in shorter time frames.

Notably, according to CNBC, traditional investors coming into the cryptoasset industry still would rather own traditional equity in companies, than buy the crypto-startups’ tokens.

This burgeoning industry means a premium price for the few coders who can build it. The often noted dearth of programming talent in the blockchain industry is probably contributing to the buying frenzy - buying up people along with their companies.

Although the market continues to lull, in some ways there has never been a more active time in the cryptoasset industry.