Crypto startup Bullish plans to go public in a reverse merger with the acquisition company backed by Tom Farley, former president of the New York Stock Exchange.
Farley’s Far Peak Acquisition Corporation SPAC rose roughly 4% on the premarket news.
The deal announced on Friday is slated to close by the end of 2021 – and Farley, who oversaw the NYSE from 2014 to 2018, will then become CEO of Bullish.
“This is a big idea whose time has come,” Farley said in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box shortly after the deal was announced.
“Digital assets are here to stay. The smartest engineering talents get into digital assets; digital assets solve very important problems. Anyone who tells you they know exactly how it will turn out is lying or deceiving. We’re going to see more and more interesting use cases, more and more dollars pouring into the area, “he added.
Farley’s plans to run the cryptocurrency exchange are noteworthy given his experience with financial regulators from his time at the NYSE. The prospect of additional regulation in the US is being closely monitored by the crypto industry.
Bullish expects to receive approximately $ 600 million in revenue from Far Peak, plus an additional $ 300 million through a PIPE or private investment in public equity. A large number of well-known investors are attending PIPE, including BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, and Mike Novogratz ‘crypto-specialized financial services company Galaxy Digital.
The merger between Far Peak and Bullish implies a pro forma share value of around $ 9 billion, according to a press release.
Bullish intends to launch “a revolutionary, regulated cryptocurrency exchange” later this year, with a private pilot program scheduled to begin in the coming weeks, the press release said. The exchange will “provide deep, predictable liquidity with technology that enables private and institutional investors to generate returns on their digital assets,” the press release said.
Bullish started in May as a subsidiary of Block.one, a blockchain company with the support of well-known investors like Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and prominent venture capitalist.
Thiel’s firms, Thiel Capital and Founders Fund, participated in Bullish’s capital increase in May. Other Bullish investors include British hedge fund manager Alan Howard, Galaxy Digital and Richard Li, a billionaire Hong Kong businessman.
The institutional rollout of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies was a big topic over the past year. Companies like Tesla and Square have invested in Bitcoin to help keep their balance sheets, and major Wall Street banks have taken steps to enable wealth management clients to get exposure to digital assets.
In April, the most popular U.S. crypto exchange, Coinbase, went public through a direct listing on the Nasdaq, a development heralded as a turning point for the emerging and emerging industries.
Coinbase’s debut in the public market coincided with Bitcoin’s current all-time high of near $ 65,000 per unit. However, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market value has since struggled due to a number of factors including the Chinese government stepping up its crypto crackdown. Bitcoin traded below $ 33,000 on Friday morning. Last month it briefly plunged below $ 29,000, which is where it started the year.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like ether run on decentralized digital ledgers known as blockchains. While the digital asset industry has its tough critics, its supporters see the potential to disrupt traditional finance through the use of so-called smart contracts and other blockchain-related innovations.
In an April interview with CNBC, Farley said he believed the crypto space was “the best kept secret in the world and perhaps the history of financial markets.”
In 2015, when Farley was still president, the New York Stock Exchange made a minority stake in Coinbase.