Binance to Buy Crypto-Wallet Company in First-Ever Acquisition

(Bloomberg) -- Binance, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, is embarking on its first acquisition as it seeks to give customers more control over their digital coins.

The closely held firm bought Trust Wallet, a crypto-wallet provider and decentralized-application browser that doesn’t collect a lot of user data, Binance said in a statement, without disclosing the terms of the deal. Trust Wallet, which launched in November and has 10 employees, allows customers to store more than 20,000 different Ethereum-based tokens.

"The users control 100 percent of their funds," Binance Chief Executive Officer Zhao Changpeng said in an interview Tuesday. “Now we have both a decentralized and centralized solution for custody.”

Binance to Buy Crypto-Wallet Company in First-Ever Acquisition

Trust Wallet doesn’t access user wallets or hold private keys, the codes that let investors spend their coins, Binance said. Instead, the keys are stored on user devices. The firm may collect customers’ public-wallet addresses, contact information and social-media handles, according to its website. Trust Wallet said in June that it was canceling its planned token sale due to legal risks.

“The company has built a reputation for security and has held itself to the guiding principles that it will never access user wallets, hold private keys, and ask for personal information,” Malta-based Binance said in the statement. “The Trust Wallet brand and team will retain the autonomy and freedom to develop the core product while benefiting from the increased synergy from Binance.”

The deal was not highly priced and Trust Wallet does not have a lot of users, Zhao said. Binance is in early-stage talks with a few other acquisition targets, he added.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.