South Korea’s largest crypto exchange Bithumb sold for $354 million
A majority stake in Bithumb, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by reported volume South Korea's top crypto trading platform, has been sold for 400 billion won ($353.64 million), as reported by local news agency Daily Economy.
The news agency, citing industry sources, reported that 50 percent plus one share in BTC Holdings - the exchange’s biggest stakeholder - was acquired by BK Global Consortium. The consortium is led by the country’s leading plastic surgeon Kim Byung-gun, chief plastic surgeon of BK Plastic Surgery and an avid blockchain investor.
Prior to the deal, BK Global Consortium was BTC Holding’s fifth largest shareholder. Once the deal is completed, BK Global Consortium will become the largest stakeholder in Bithumb.
The consortium will buy shares from 10 shareholders to increase their ownership percentage. Furthermore, the deal will be finalized by December 12 and the consortium will complete the required transaction by February 2019.
Byung-gun, who spearheaded the deal, has made several investments in the crypto space since virtual currencies began picking up speed. He started out with investing in biotech companies and then moved onto blockchain start-ups.
“Kim Byung-gun demonstrated his multinational management ability in the field of medical care, fintech, and blockchain in Singapore. He is the right person to pursue the systemization and globalization of the virtual currency exchange,” said a representative for the consortium.
Byung-gun, who will become the largest shareholder of Bithumb once the deal is completed, also founded an ICO consulting firm in Singapore last August.
The surgeon has already made clear his plans to open a decentralized exchange, ‘Bithumb Dex’ through the Hong Kong unit. This exchange will be able to thwart the threat of hacks, which Bithumb has suffered from in the past.
Earlier in June, Bithumb was the victim of a hack that saw cryptocurrencies worth 35 billion won ($31.5 million) stolen from the exchange. To prevent any further attacks, the tokens held by the exchange were stored in ‘offline cold wallets’ with no internet access.
In August, Vidente - a stakeholder of Bithumb - reported that the exchange made a profit of 39.34 billion won ($35 million) during the first half of 2018. This profit margin was significant because of the cryptocurrency market's bull run at the end of last year and the rough patch that Bithumb had to endure due to the hack in June.
With an eye on the company's future prospects, an official of the consortium said, “We will also promote the introduction of 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.”
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