Crypto Exchange Start-Up Bullish Sets Market Debut

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Cryptocurrency market start-up Bullish plans $9bn market debut through merger with Far Peak Acquisition, headed by former NYSE president Tom Farley

Cryptocurrency start-up Bullish is to enter financial markets via a $9 billion (£6.4bn) reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company backed by a former president of the New York Stock Exchange.

Tom Farley, chairman and chief executive of Far Peak Acquisition, oversaw the NYSE from 2014 to 2018 and is to become chief executive of Bullish under the arrangement.

The Far Peak deal is expected to close by the end of 2021.

Bullish, a unit of blockchain software company Block.one, plans to launch a regulated cryptocurrency exchange later this year, with a pilot programme beginning in the coming weeks.

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“Bullish’s entry into the public markets allows our customers to take part in Bullish by holding a piece of our company, without any of the regulatory uncertainties or jurisdictional limitations of a profit-sharing token issuance,” said Brendan Blumer, chief executive of Block.one and the incoming chairman of Bullish, in a statement.

Farley’s involvement with the Bullish offering is notable given his experience with financial regulators while leading the NYSE.

In recent months cryptocurrencies have faced a clampdown by regulators in China, the UK and Japan, with investors wary of possible regulatory moves by the US.

Bullish expects to receive about $600m in proceeds from Far Peak, as well as another $300m through a private investment in public equity (PIPE).

High-profile backers

Well-known investors participating in the PIPE include BlackRock and Galaxy Digital.

The merger between Far Peak and Bullish implies a pro forma equity value of about $9bn, the companies stated.

Bullish parent company Block.one is backed by Peter Thiel’s Thiel Capital and Founders Fund, as well as British hedge fund manager Alan Howard, Galaxy Digita and Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li.

In April popular US crypto exchange Coinbase went public through a direct listing on the Nasdaq, coinciding with Bitcoin’s current all-time high valuation of nearly $65,000.

Since then China’s crackdown on crypto mining and other factors have seen Bitcoin drop to around $33,000. Last month it briefly fell below $29,000, its value at the start of 2021.

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