Startup Aims to Become First South Korean Crypto Player to List on KOSDAQ Exchange

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Hans Eiskonen/Unsplash

A South Korean crypto and blockchain startup is aiming for the KOSDAQ, the country’s stock exchange, and could become the nation’s first publicly listed company.

The company, named Blocko, has hired one of the nation’s top financial firms – Shinhan Financial Investment – to manage the listing process as the firm seeks to launch an initial public offering (IPO).

News1 reported that Blocko hopes to complete its listing on the KOSDAQ (Korean Securities Dealers Automated Quotations) some time in 2023.

The firm has previously been backed by the likes of the steel giant POSCO, as well as Shinhan Bank. Earlier this year, it received an investment boost of USD 3.6 million from Daehong Communications, a marketing affiliate of retail conglomerate Lotte Group. Some estimate the company’s corporate worth may be as high as $64.5 million.

Blocko is set to work on a number of non-fungible token (NFT) and security token offering (STO)-related products with a number of Lotte Group affiliates, the startup’s CEO Kim Jong-hwan stated.

Another conglomerate backer is CJ, whose IT services arm CJ OliveNetworks last year enlisted Blocko to develop an NFT-based ticketing solution that will be able to fight counterfeiting. CJ has also spoken about its plans to use NFT technology throughout “the entertainment business in the future.” 

Crypto’s Long Journey to the KOSDAQ

South Korea’s crypto sector has grown exponentially in the past few years, and prior to the start of crypto winter, few industries in the nation were raking in profits on the same scale.

The country’s two biggest crypto exchanges – Upbit and Bithumb – have both attracted considerable interest in the financial markets, with multiple financial analysts claiming that Upbit in particular may be mulling a Nasdaq listing.

Upbit has been classified as a “very large” company (on the same kind of footing as the likes of Samsung and LG) by the South Korean markets regulator. As such, most agree that the firm is simply too large for an IPO on the KOSDAQ.

Other, smaller crypto exchanges have also been touted as possible candidates for a KOSDAQ IPO. But since the start of crypto winter, talk of plans like these have cooled quickly – with most crypto players posting poor quarterly results.

Founded in 2014, Blocko is one of South Korea’s so-called “first-generation” blockchain companies. The company posted net profits of just under USD 500 million in net profit last year, along with USD 1.6 billion in sales.