Coinbase Reportedly in Advanced Talks to Acquire Xapo’s Crypto Custody Business

Francisco Memoria

U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is reportedly in advanced-stage talks to buy cryptocurrency custody provider Xapo, for about $50 million. The deal’s goal would be to boost its custody business and diversify revenue sources

According to a report by crypto news outlet TheBlock, citing sources familiar with the matter, both Coinbase and Fidelity Digital Assets were ‘locked in a neck-and-neck race’ for the crypto custody firm, and Coinbase ended up coming out on top.

Fidelity Digital Assets is Fidelity Investments’ bet to bridge crypto and traditional finance. The firm is reportedly going to start buying and selling the flagship cryptocurrency bitcoin within “a few weeks.” Fidelity Investments is notably one of the largest financial firms in the world, with $7.2 trillion worth of assets under management (AUM).

Coinbase beating Fidelity to the Xapo sale, per the news outlet, shows the cryptocurrency firm is looking to “aggressively diversify its revenue to be less prone to the cyclical nature of cryptocurrency trading.”

Xapo itself has raised a total of $40 million since 2012, and its main product is cold storage vault custody of BTC. According to the report it has $5.5 billion of assets under custody (AUC), which means it has over 700,000 BTC under custody. Bloomberg has in the past reported the company held $10 billion, 7% of BTC’s supply, in its vaults.

The crypto custody firm’s business model revolves around generating revenue enabling over-the-counter (OTC) trades for customers using the bitcoin it has under custody, as it doesn’t charge users to store their funds in its cold storage.

The company has seen firms like the Digital Currency Group, Winklevoss Capital, and Blockchain Capital invest in it, as well as top Silicon Valley VC firms like Greylock Partners and Index Ventures.

If the deal goes through, Xapo will join a number of companies Coinbase has acquired over the last few months. These include Earn and Toshi, which turned to Coinbase Earn and Coinbase Wallet. Earlier this year the firm acquired analytics company Neutrino in a controversial move, as its team was associated with Hacking Team, a group that’s said to have developed software that aided human rights abuses.

Opera Launches Blockchain, Cryptocurrency-Ready Browser for iOS

Opera Ltd., the company behind the Opera browser, has recently launched a new blockchain and cryptocurrency-ready browser for iOS, following the company’s addition of a built-in cryptocurrency wallet to its Android and PC browsers.

According to a press release shared with CryptoGlobe, the company’s Opera Touch browser for iOS features “crypto wallet integration and Web 3 support,” meaning users can interact with blockchain-based applications through it, as if they were using an extension like MetaMask. The company hinted at the move in March of this year.

The company touts it now offers browsers supporting blockchain-based applications and with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet in various operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, allowing users to “seamlessly interact with the next generation of Web 3 applications.”

Currently, the browser only supports ERC-20 tokens, stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens, although the company has revealed earlier this year it’s looking to add support for TRON and multiple other blockchains within a  year.

Charles Hamel, Opera’s head of crypto, stated:

We believe that all modern browsers should integrate a crypto wallet. This will enable new business models to emerge on the web. Opera is the first browser to make using crypto on the Web seamless and easy. Following a strong demand from the crypto-community, we are now making this experience available on iOS.

In the press release the company added it believes the “web of today will be the interface to the decentralized web of tomorrow,” with cryptocurrencies being at its forefront. Along with the iOS release, the company announced it partnered with a decentralized-application (dApp) called Marble.Cards, which allows users to turn unique web pages into collectible cards on the blockchain, each being a non-fungible token.

The Opera touch browser itself has a user interface built to let users use large phone screens with ease, as it shifts the navigation towards the bottom of the screen and adds features that make it easy to share pages across devices.

Opera’s main Android browser is also its cryptocurrency-ready browser for the operating system, and it has made it easier for users to buy cryptocurrencies directly from their mobile phones.