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South Korean Exchange Searches for ‘Lost’ Owners of $206M Worth of Crypto

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
A magnifying glass on a laptop keyboard.
Source: Paweł Michałowski/Adobe

The South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb says it wants to find the “dormant” owners of $206 million worth of coins, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and XRP.

Per Chosun Ilbo, Bithumb said it was launching a “campaign” to help remind users with seizable crypto holdings that their coins remain on the platform.

One crypto owner, Bithumb noted, had not logged onto the exchange’s platform for 3,357 days (over nine years).

Another “dormant” customer has failed to log into an account that holds over $2.7 million of coins, Bithumb said.

Most of the coins are Bitcoin tokens, the exchange continued, with the remainder predominately made up of Ethereum and XRP coins.

Bithumb classifies “dormant wallets” as accounts that have not been logged into at least once a year, over a period of 10 years.

One highly upvoted commenter opined that some of the token holders may have died or could be “in jail.”

A graph showing trading volumes on the Bithumb crypto exchange over the past 12 months.
Trading volumes on the Bithumb crypto exchange over the past 12 months. (Source: CoinGecko)

Will South Korean Crypto Owners Be Reunited with their Lost BTC, ETH, & XRP?

Bithumb launched in December 2013 and has seen about 8 million customers create wallets on its platform.

A Bithumb spokesperson said the “purpose of the campaign” was to help reunite people with their coins. The spokesperson said:

“As Bithumb has been the largest exchange in South Korea for a period of over 10 years, we have the largest amount of dormant assets on our platform. Some wallets have not been accessed for a long time.”

The exchange said that it had launched a special service as it began its campaign.

Bithumb said that it has created a “Find Dormant Assets” service on its website.

Customers must prove their identity by verifying their email addresses and mobile phone numbers to use the service. The exchange concluded:

“We hope that people will use this opportunity to actively check on their dormant virtual assets.”

Bithumb has experienced a resurgence in trade in recent weeks, thanks in part to a revitalized domestic and global crypto market.

The platform was once the nation’s market leader, but in the past few years has slipped well behind its biggest rival Upbit.

Bithumb has attempted to win back trade by indefinitely doing away with commission fees.

The firm also hopes to launch on the KOSDAQ exchange in 2025, despite ongoing legal issues involving its alleged “secret owner.”