The well-established crypto trading platform, Shapeshift, has acquired Portis, a non-custodial wallet solution.
Portis is an Israeli startup founded in 2017, by Tom Teman and Scott Gralnick. The company provides a non-custodial blockchain wallet, that can be used as a standalone product, or be embedded in third-party apps.
According to Tal Zackon of F2 Capital, and an investor in the company, “Portis was on the mission to bring crypto wallets to all, enabling the non-techy to enjoy decentralized applications.”
Portis went on to build a Web3 wallet SDK for developers of crypto applications, which is being used by many popular decentralized applications, including well know DeFi applications like Uniswap, Airswap, Fulcrum and Totle.
A core selling point is that the platform does not store its users’ private keys, or take custody of them, which would them to move assets without the users’ explicit consent. Portis co-founder Tom Teman stated, “the non-custodial aspect was critical in our eyes. Although holding people’s private keys solves a lot of UX, we believe it goes against an essential tenet of blockchain: ‘not your keys, not your coins’.”
Portis quickly became the most popular method of interacting with ShapeShift once an initial integration was complete. The ShapeShift platform gives users the ability to quickly swap between assets.
"After integrating Portis’ SDK into the ShapeShift Platform last year, we recognized the depth of their tech and how closely our values aligned,” Shapeshift CEO, Erik Vorhees, said at the time. “They really built something special, making self-custody extremely easy. As our relationship evolved, acquiring Portis became a natural next step.”
The Portis acquisition soon followed, and Shapeshift users will now have integrated access to all the other applications that had already integrated Portis. Tens of thousands of Portis users will see the capabilities of their wallets enhanced in the coming months, creating seamless experiences in crypto to crypto trading, as well as enabling the instant purchase of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and USD Coin (USDC) from a debit card.
According to Vorhees, “Soon, you’ll see ‘Log in with ShapeShift’ all over the DeFi ecosystem, and the assets you have on the ShapeShift Platform will be magically available wherever you log in."
The last acquisition Shapeshift made was in 2017, when it acquired KeepKey, a hardware wallet maker, in an all-bitcoin deal. The reason for acquiring KeepKey then was similar, Shapeshift wants to allow users to trade in a secure manner while allowing users to self-custody their tokens.
Mergers and acquisitions in the blockchain and crypto space are expected to increase over the year as many established crypto companies that have significant balance sheets look to increase market share or revenue by scooping up younger crypto startups who are struggling to survive in this period of restricted venture funding. There have already been over 15 acquisitions this year.
Kraken acquired the Australia exchange Bit Trade earlier in the year, followed by Anchorage making its first acquisition in buying Merkle Data, a provider of risk and data solutions for crypto institutions.
In February Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is a large shareholder of Bakkt, announced that it has agreed to acquire Bridge2 Solutions, a leading provider of loyalty solutions for merchants and consumers. Bakkt then acquired Bridge2 Solutions from ICE using proceeds from Bakkt’s $300M Series B round of funding.
Also in February, BitGo acquired Harbor, a security token platform backed by a16z. This acquisition made BitGo the first crypto native company to hold broker-dealer, transfer agent and qualified custodian licenses.
In March, the acquisition of CoinMarketCap by Binance was announced. This is touted to be a $400M cash plus stock deal, marking probably one of the biggest acquisitions of the year. Interestingly, $400M seems to be the record-holding figure for M&A in crypto, as Poloniex and Bitstamp both reportedly were acquired for $400M.
Earlier this month PwC released their 2nd Global Crypto Mergers and Acquisitions Fundraising Report. According to the report, Asia and the Europe, Middle East and Africa block have attracted more crypto mergers and acquisitions in 2019 than the US, and that will not slow down over the course of 2020. Further, consolidation is 2019 was occurring as a majority of the acquisitions were conducted by larger players in the crypto community, driven by their need to expand service offerings for their end-users.