BCB Group, a cryptocurrency trading and payments services firm aimed at institutions, has acquired LAB577, a blockchain and digital assets shop launched by a group of former NatWest bank software engineers. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Both these U.K. firms have collaborated in the past, exploring ways their respective infrastructure plays could connect. On the LAB577 side, the Digital Asset Shared Ledger brought bitcoin and ether onto the permissioned Corda Network, which was further facilitated by the BCB Liquidity Interchange Network Consortium, a kind of SWIFT alternative for instant crypto-cash settlement.
“We’ve taken different angles in building infrastructure,” said BCB chief Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie in an interview. “BCB has focused on the bottom payments layer, alongside the liquidity, banking and trading. While LAB557’s infrastructure focus has been looking ahead at the future of securities and that of interoperability among blockchains.”
Back in December of last year, BCB acquired Germany’s 100-year-old Sutor Bank, a deal that’s expected to gain approval from the German regulator BaFin later this month. That acquisition plus LAB577 brings BCB’s headcount to about 200, said Landesberg-Sadie.
In the case of the LAB577 acquisition, it’s all about blockchain engineering chops: the startup’s leader, Richard Crook, will become BCB, chief operating officer, while his engineering lead Farzad “Fuzz” Pezeshkpour becomes the CTO of BCB Group.
“Mark Simpson, Ben Wyeth and Fuzz [Pezeshkpour] are the distinguished engineers from the old NatWest Markets, who exited with me in 2018 to form LAB577,” said Richard Crook in an interview. “I think it’s a great shot in the arm to BCB’s engineering prowess.”
Landsberg-Sadie echoed this, calling the LAB577 team “the most outstanding engineers I’ve ever met.”