Mike Novogratz-led investment firm Galaxy Digital Holdings has won the bidding to buy GK8, an institutional digital asset self-custody platform owned by Celsius Network — pending court approvals and certain closing conditions.
According to a Dec. 2 blog post from GK8 and a press release from Galaxy, if the acquisition goes ahead, Galaxy will acquire the platform's nearly 40-strong team as part of the deal including cryptographers and blockchain engineers and the GK8's team office in Tel Aviv.
GK8 is a self-custody platform for managing blockchain-based assets which offers custody, staking, DeFi, NFT support, tokenization and trading.
The team behind the platform claims it can run secure blockchain transactions without being connected to the internet, severely reducing the risks of hacks.
Celsius acquired GK8 in 2021 for $115 million, though Galaxy has not disclosed how much it offered for the firm.
Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy called the acquisition a “crucial cornerstone in our effort to create a truly full-service financial platform for digital assets.”
"Adding GK8 to our prime offering at this pivotal moment for our industry also highlights our continued willingness to take advantage of strategic opportunities to grow Galaxy in a sustainable manner," he added.
Galaxy intends to support GK8's ongoing operations while utilizing its technology to develop its trading platform GalaxyOne it said.
GK8 founders, including CEO Lior Lamesh and CTO Shahar Shamai, are expected to stay with the company and lead Galaxy's new custodial business.
"With the backing of Galaxy, we aim to introduce new and exciting offerings to the industry that showcase a combination of Galaxy's best-in-class services and GK8's cryptography, security, and unparalleled R&D skills," Lamesh said.
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Celsius has been undergoing bankruptcy proceedings since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jul. 13, discussing plans to sell some of its assets.
In the court filing, Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky indicated the company could sell Bitcoin (BTC) mined by its mining operation to help repay at least one of its loans and provide revenue for the company in the future.
While in a Sept. 15 filing with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Celsius asked for permission to sell its stablecoin holdings.
Galaxy Digital was recently named in a $100 million lawsuit by institutional crypto custodian service and wallet operator BitGo for dropping its plans to acquire the firm.
Galaxy terminated the May, 2021 agreement to acquire the firm on Aug. 15, 2022, citing a breach of contract by BitGo when it allegedly failed to deliver audited financial statements by July 31, 2022.
BitGo then revealed in Sept. 13 post that it was seeking more than $100 million in damages, accusing Galaxy of “improper repudiation” and “intentional breach” of its acquisition agreement with BitGo.