US-based digital asset manager Wave Financial has made its first European acquisition following the purchase of a minority stake in Swiss crypto assets firm Criptonite Asset Management.
According to Wave Financial, securing a minority stake is the first step towards a full acquisition of the company, which it hopes to complete by the end of 2022, pending regulatory approval.
The two firms have had an informal partnership as of 2021 with Criptonite distributing Wave Financial's bitcoin and NFT funds in Europe.
The acquisition will enable Wave Financial to benefit from what it claims is the increased interest in digital assets from Europe's institutional investors, especially for regulated firms such as Wave and Criptonite which have been licensed by the SEC in the US and Finma in Switzerland respectively.
It is also likely to be the first of several acquisitions, according to Wave Financial CEO David Siemer.
"This bear market is an opportunity for us to continue to grow and expand, both organically and by acquiring crypto asset managers," said Siemer.
"Wave is in discussions with several asset managers, exchanges and lenders, as we look to expand our footprint in Europe and beyond.”
Institutional investors have been wary of investing in cryptocurrencies but have been more open to digital assets and tokenised funds, particularly where regulated asset managers are involved.
Nor is Wave Financial alone in acquiring stakes in European digital asset managers. In July, global investment firm Schroders bought a minority share in Forteus, an asset manager focused on blockchain and tokenised assets.