Publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is in the process of acquiring asset management firm Osprey Funds, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.
The talks are at a high level and informal at this stage, said one of the sources.
Osprey Funds declined to comment. A Coinbase spokesperson said the company doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation.”
There’s no doubt that Coinbase has deep pockets following its April public listing and last week’s announcement of a $1.25 billion offering of convertible notes. The exchange has been on a steady acquisition trail in recent years, having purchased such crypto companies as prime broker Tagomi, infrastructure shop Bison Trails and data platform Skew.
But asset management would be a new business for Coinbase, which has billions of dollars in institutional assets under custody. The Osprey deal hasn’t been finalized, both sources said.
Osprey, which is known for its bitcoin fund, was in the news recently for launching a fund specializing in Polkadot, which is an alternative public blockchain to Ethereum. Coinbase is the custodian for Osprey’s DOT fund.
Although small in comparison, Osprey Funds competes with Grayscale, whose assets are also under Coinbase’s custody. (Grayscale is owned by CoinDesk parent company Digital Currency Group.)
“There’s clearly a desire for asset management from the perspective of Coinbase,” a second person who asked to remain anonymous said.