LONDON - Blockchain company Valereum said on Monday it has received regulatory approval to buy the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) and turn it into a gateway to European capital for fledgling companies from the Middle East, India and Africa.

Valereum said it has received consent from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission to complete the acquisition.

Valereum did not reveal the price of the deal, which it expects to complete in the first quarter of 2023.

"The future focus of the GSX will be to expand the access to European capital for early stage and small-cap companies in the Middle East, India and Africa where there is a huge opportunity to empower entrepreneurs across the region," Valereum said in a statement.

It will also launch a non-fungible token (NFT) strategy in the first quarter to link 'real world' or traditional securities via NFT ownership, the company said.

The merged company will be chaired by Richard Poulden, with Patrick Young as executive director.

"The GSX will harness proven exchange technology from established providers and will be updated with full front-to-back trading and clearing functionality on a significant scale and expandability," Poulden said in a statement.

In August, Valereum said it was selling its bitcoin mining assets as part of plans to acquire and expand GSX.

The price of bitcoin has crashed over the past year, ushering in what has been dubbed a 'crypto winter', with little sign of a thaw.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jason Neely)