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Galaxy Digital Wins Celsius Bankruptcy Auction to Acquire Crypto Custodian GK8

GK8, one of the assets put up for auction during Celsius’ bankruptcy proceedings, will play a role in Galaxy Digital’s institutional offering.

3 min read
Mike Novogratz is the billionaire founder of Galaxy Digital. Image: Shutterstock.

Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital has won the bid to acquire GK8, a self-custody crypto firm.

GK8 was first acquired by Celsius in November 2021 for $115 million. After Celsius filed for bankruptcy, the self-custody firm was put up for auction as part of Celsius’ proceedings. 

Today’s acquisition cost was not disclosed, but a representative of Galaxy Digital told Decrypt that "the purchase price we agreed on was materially less than what GK8 was previously purchased for."

GK8 did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment. The deal is still subject to the bankruptcy court's approval.

GK8 will reportedly play a key role in Galaxy Digital’s institutional offering GalaxyOne, offering clients secure crypto storage without the need for an internet connection (often called cold storage).

Where custodial wallets involve storing funds on an exchange or with a lender, and hot wallets like MetaMask or WalletConnect are connected to the internet, cold storage involves storing crypto on wallets that are isolated from the internet. Hardware wallets such as Trezor and Ledger are another form of cold storage

"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," said Novogratz in a prepared statement.

The acquisition also comes months after Galaxy pulled out of its proposed $1.2 billion deal to acquire another crypto custodian, BitGo.

The latter firm then filed a lawsuit against Galaxy for its “improper repudiation and intentional breach of its merger agreement with BitGo.”  

Galaxy’s Novogratz hit by crypto contagion

Despite today’s purchase, Novogratz has also been stung by this year’s calamitous run in crypto. 

The billionaire CEO was not hit by just one catastrophic crypto collapse but two. 

Once a proponent of the Cosmos-based project Terra and its founder Do Kwon, Novogratz called the project’s implosion this May a “huge idea that failed.” He added that his Terra tattoo would serve as “ a constant reminder that venture investing requires humility.”

Then in November, Galaxy revealed in its third-quarter earnings report nearly $77 million in exposure to the now-collapsed FTX crypto exchange.

Novogratz has been particularly critical of the exchange’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who has made media appearance after media appearance following his firm’s bankruptcy filing. 

“Sam and his cohorts perpetuated a fraud, they used customer money to make bets that he poorly risk-managed,” he told Bloomberg.

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