On Septemeber10th of 2018, Chain announced that they have officially been acquired by Lightyear.io. The acquisition, which officially came to fruition on September 5, will see the two companies together under a new entity called Interstellar. Before the merger, Chain, which was able to successfully raise $40 million from large financial institutions such as Visa and NASDAQ, served a large role in defining the narrative for business interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. On the other hand, Lightyear.io was a startup which was focused on building upon the Stellar protocol. Both of the companies coming together in the acquisition have only a small employee base, but 100% of employees from both companies will be retained with the acquisition. In total, Interstellar will have 60 employees as a result. In addition to the $40 million amount, all of the shareholders of Chain were bought out for what could total more than $200 million, although no final amount has been disclosed.
With the acquisition closed, the former chiefs of both companies are looking to the future. Adam Ludwin, the CEO of Chain who will serve as Interstellar’s CEO, and Jed McCaleb, the creator of the XRP and Stellar protocols who will serve as Interstellar’s CTO, are excited for the opportunities that the acquisitions bring. In a statement to CoinDesk, Ludwin said,
“If you look at our work with Visa, Citi, in every case, we made huge progress, but we would also find ourselves at an impasse when it was the partners who had to instantiate a blockchain. We needed a chain that anyone could access.”
The acquisition of Chain has been a process that many believe has been in the works for many months. Ludwin and McCaleb have known each other since 2014 and had meetings in early 2018, which is believed to be the first talks of the acquisition. Ludwin claims the early meetings were more about establishing a relationship, saying, “As usual, what you think about someone based on their public persona and who they actually are drastically different, and we decided that after four to five weeks, let’s do this together.” With that in mind, Ludwin also confirmed that the two companies explored a various number of ways to structure the deal to ensure the right choice was made and retain employees on both sides of the fence.
The acquisition has also posed other points of interest for both Ludwin and McCaleb and their new enterprise. In particular, Ludwin has aimed to distance the new company from comparisons to the Ripple, a company in which McCaleb served as founder and CTO. In a quote, Ludwin said, “Ripple is focused on international B2B networks, being crypto Swift for banks. Stellar has increasingly become the platform of choice for issuing tokens of all kinds.” Furthermore, Ludwin also noted that the third time could be a charm. For him, this is his third career regarding his vision for blockchain and cryptocurrencies. He has new optimism that the first “two stabs” have given him the information he needs to help this third enterprise succeed.