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South Korean Crypto Exchange Bithumb Hoping to Launch IPO

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

The world of cryptocurrencies in South Korea could be set for a major shake-up with leading cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb hoping to launch an initial public offering (IPO).

bithumb ipo
Source: Adobe/prima91

Per Money Today, Bithumb has already selected Samsung Securities as its host and has “begun work” on the IPO preparation process.

However, the same media outlet says that the process could be fraught with difficulties due to the fact that so little is known about the makeup of the company’s shareholders. Money Today also states that “uncertainty about business continuity, taxation issues, investment protection and social reputation issues” could prove stumbling blocks.

A South Korean crypto industry insider who asked not to be named told that a recent thaw in Seoul crypto policies might not be enough to give legitimacy to cryptocurrencies in the country. He said that Bithumb’s IPO bid “would need to be very well-prepared indeed if it is to succeed.”

The insider added,

“Businesses and the government are warming to crypto somewhat. Bithumb obviously thinks that the time to move with this plan is just right.”

Little if anything is known about the shareholders of Bithumb Holdings, the company’s operator. But most believe that Lee Jung-hoon, the CEO of Bithumb Holdings, has a controlling share in the company. Per last year’s figures, Bithumb Holdings has a 74.1% stake in the exchange.

Bithumb Holdings’ largest single shareholder is Visdent, a KOSDAQ-listed company, which holds a 34.2% stake.

As previously reported, the company was last year rocked by a failed takeover bid involving potential new owners who defaulted on payment. Bithumb was also hit with a staggering and unprecedented USD 67 million tax bill for its customers’ trading profits last year – a case that it is still fighting in court.

The media outlet stated that “discussions on cryptocurrency and even blockchain technology” would be sparked throughout the South Korean economy, and society as a whole, should Bithumb get its IPO off the ground.

The crypto community – and particularly its larger players – welcomed a National Assembly vote earlier this year that saw the country impose its first crypto-specific piece of legislation.