Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance Buys Ethereum Wallet Service in First-Ever Acquisition

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Binance, one of the world’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has just completed its first-ever acquisition.

According to TechCrunch, the Malta-based exchange operator acquired Trust Wallet, creator of the eponymous mobile Ethereum wallet that includes support for ether, as well as ERC-20 and ERC-223 tokens. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Binance confirmed that it included a mixture of cash, Binance stock, and Binance tokens (BNB).

Trust Wallet is not one of the better known Ethereum wallets. It has about 50,000 downloads on Android through the Google Play store, earning a 4.6 out of 5 star rating from 1,138 reviewers. Download statistics were not immediately available from Apple’s App Store, but the wallet had a comparable rating from a similar number of reviewers. For comparison, imToken, the most popular Ethereum wallet, has more than 5 million monthly active users, most of whom are based in Asia.

“The Trust Wallet team shares the same values as us and the products are very complementary,” Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao told the publication. “For users who like to withdraw funds into a wallet now we have a product they can use.”

Zhao said that Trust Wallet will continue to operate independently, with Binance providing some administrative and marketing support and otherwise serving as a “godfather” to the wallet service.

By offloading those functions to Binance HQ, Trust Wallet’s development team will have more time to focus on its core product offering, perhaps hastening its planned support for other cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, EOS, and NEO.

The Trust Wallet acquisition comes as Binance is actively working on building a decentralized exchange (DEX), complete with its own public blockchain. Such platforms, which have also been announced by several other major exchanges, will allow users to trade cryptocurrencies without entrusting their funds to a centralized custodian and placing them at risk of hacks and exit scams.

Zhao said that Trust Wallet will serve as one of the Binance DEX’s default wallets, though it’s not clear when the platform will go live.

Binance’s centralized exchange currently ranks as the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency trading platform, with a daily volume of $1.3 billion. Only OKEx, which, like Binance, has created its own crypto token, opened an office in blockchain-friendly Malta, and unveiled plans to create a DEX, has processed more trading volume over the past 24 hours.

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Josiah is an assistant editor at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.