South Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange Sold to Singapore-Based Consortium
The largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea by trading volume, Bithumb, has reportedly been sold to a Singapore-based consortium for approximately 400 billion won or $354 million. Bk Global Consortium, led by plastic surgeon Kim Byung-gun, will acquire the controlling stake and become the largest shareholder of Bithumb.
A spokesman for Bithumb confirmed Friday that the exchange “was sold for about $354 million to a consortium led by a plastic surgeon,” Reuters reported and quoted him saying:
Bk Global Consortium, led by Kim Byung-gun, plastic surgeon and blockchain platform investor, signed a deal on Thursday to buy 50 percent plus one share in the exchange’s biggest stakeholder, BTC Holdings, for about 400 billion won ($354.09 million). The deal makes Bk Global Consortium the largest stakeholder of Bithumb.
The deal will be finalized in February, Bloomberg further quoted the spokesman. Bithumb’s April audit report shows that BTC Holdings was the largest shareholder, with a 75.99 percent stake in the exchange. The second largest shareholder, Vidente Co. Ltd., held a 10.55 percent stake, followed by Omnitel at 8.44 percent, Chosun detailed.
Kim founded Bk Plastic Surgery 23 years ago and is the representative of the Bk Medical Group, which links China, Singapore and Korea, MTN detailed. He also established an ICO platform in Singapore last August.
Bithumb is currently South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. According to Vidente, the exchange posted 218.6 billion won of operating profit and 39.3 billion won of net income in the first half of the year, Bloomberg described. Semi-annual reports of BTC Holdings show that Bithumb’s sales reached 303 billion won in the first half of this year.
In addition, News Asia reported that the price which Bk Global paid for Bithumb is lower than the exchange’s $880 million valuation appraised in early February, adding that the consortium’s own valuation of the exchange is even higher, at more than two trillion won plus the management rights premium. The news outlet quoted a Bk Global Consortium official asserting:
We will also promote the introduction of a stable coin to stabilize the payment system. We will be in conjunction with the global exchange scheme to take advantage of the coin linked to the US dollar.
In June, Bithumb said it was hacked and 11 cryptocurrencies were stolen. The estimated damage was about 19 billion won. This week, the exchange launched two indices to track the cryptocurrency markets.