US-based cryptocurrency exchange operator Bittrex has built up its recent partnership with Palladium, buying a 10% stake in the Maltese blockchain company, local news outlet Times of Malta reported on Sunday.
“We are excited to have such a global player on board. Bittrex’s investment in Palladium is a confirmation of Malta’s sound decision to be at the forefront of regulating blockchain technology,” Palladium founder and chairman Paolo Catalfamo said as quoted by the publication.
Prior to Bittrex’s investment, Palladium was owned by bank holding company Investar Holding and eSports betting platform Unikrn, which held 85% and 15% of the company, respectively. Lacking an official announcement and deal details, it remains unclear which of the aforementioned companies have sold a chunk of its holding to Bittrex.
Palladium made headlines back in July, launching the world’s first Initial Convertible Coin Offering (ICCO) in partnership with Bittrex and Unikrn. Unlike a traditional Initial Coin Offering (ICO), the ICCO involves a sale of a “tokenized convertible warrant” that will allow users to convert the tokens into shares of the company three years after issuance.
Palladium’s fundraising, which is running until the end of September, targets €150 million, according to its July announcement. About half of the proceeds will be used for a planned acquisition of a controlling interest in an unspecified European bank. Around 35% of the accumulated funds will be used for the development of a new cryptocurrency exchange, which will operate under the regulation of Malta Financial Services Authority. The remainder 15% will go towards “strategic investments in financial services and blockchain companies complementing Palladium’s business”.
Bittrex’s bet on Palladium comes after in July the Maltese parliament approved three cryptocurrency and blockchain-related bills. The legislation brought legal certainty and integrity to the growing virtual currency market in the archipelago, dubbed the “Blockchain Island” by government officials introducing the industry-friendly changes.
Bittrex, now the 18th top crypto exchange by total average trading volume, also recently joined forces with peers Bitstamp, bitFlyer and Gemini Trust Company to establish “Virtual Commodity Association Working Group”. The self-regulatory organization aims to monitor the virtual commodity marketplaces, develop industry standards and become “a precursor to the formation” of self-regulatory activity for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).