April promises to be a busy month for mergers and acquisitions in the Japanese crypto ecosystem. Tech Giant Kakao, the operator of South Korea’s largest messaging app, has acquired a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange. The deal, announced on Thursday, sees Kakao taking a majority stake in Upbit Japan for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. Kakao acquired a controlling stake in a Japanese crypto exchange. This is a big move for Kakao, which has been seeking to expand its reach in the cryptocurrency space. The company already operates a South Korean exchange called Upbit.
Kakao could now push to integrate its web-based animation outfit with its cryptocurrency services. The deal, which is reportedly worth $50 million, will see Kakao take a majority stake in BitTrade. The acquisition is a sign that Kakao is serious about getting involved in the cryptocurrency space.
Kakao Piccoma is now the largest shareholder of the trading platform Sakura Exchange BitCoin, the trading platform in question. The Kakao subsidiary operates Piccoma, which is the largest web-based cartoon (webtoon) service provider in Japan. The move will see the Japanese exchange offer Kakao’s own cryptocurrency, called Klaytn. The altcoin is based on Ethereum and is used to fuel Kakao’s blockchain project of the same name. Klaytn aims to provide a user-friendly platform that can be used by mainstream users, not just crypto enthusiasts.
Sakura in an official press release wrote that it had received a “capital increase through third-party allotment” of shares but the size of the deal was not disclosed to the public.
Kakao was an early investor in Upbit, and remains a minority shareholder in the platform. Upbit
Its CEO Hitomi Yamamoto will remain in charge of the company, but a number of new directors have been appointed.