Crypto M&A surges past 2019 total

Micheile Henderson/

Deal value in the cryptocurrency world surpassed the total from 2019 in the first six months of the year as tie-ups became less frequent but bigger, according to PwC.

Global deal value was US$597-million in the first half of 2020 compared to $481-million over the whole of last year, PwC said in a report on the crypto merger, acquisition and fundraising landscape.

While 2020 includes the purchase of by Binance Holdings, even factoring out that deal valued at $400-million in the report, the average size has risen but not the quantity — there were 125 tie-ups in 2019 versus 60 in the first half of 2020, PwC said. Activity continues to shift away from the Americas, with 57% of volume in Asia-Pacific and Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the first half versus 51% last year.

“We expect crypto M&A activity to remain strong for the coming months particularly with some of the larger or more profitable players acquiring firms that offer ancillary services to their current offerings,” said PwC crypto leader Henri Arslanian. “We should expect the large crypto unicorns to become increasingly like ‘crypto octopuses’ by acquiring or investing in various ancillary businesses in order to remain dominant.”

Crypto as an asset class is having a good year. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index is up more than 80%, compared to a gain of less than 10% for the S&P 500, as digital money benefits from a boom in decentralised finance and a maturing of the market. Companies like Square and MicroStrategy have put some of their money in crypto, as has legendary investor Paul Tudor Jones, boosting demand and demonstrating interest from bigger players.

The first half of this year also saw an increase in fund raising involving crypto exchanges or trading companies, PwC said. The report attributed the gain to rising crypto prices, increased institutional interest and greater regulatory clarity.  — Reported by Joanna Ossinger, (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP