Crypto Milestone: Bithumb Sets Sights On Landmark Achievement As First-Listed Exchange In Korea

Crypto exchange Bithumb is gearing up to make history as the first digital asset company to go public on the South Korean stock market. Reports from local news outlet Edaily on Nov 12 suggest that Bithumb is actively preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) on Kosdaq, South Korea’s equivalent of the United States Nasdaq. The anticipated listing date will fall in the second half of 2025.

While Bithumb has not officially confirmed the IPO, it has acknowledged the recent selection of an underwriter, a crucial step in ensuring financial stability before a company goes public. Edaily reports that Samsung Securities is the chosen underwriter for Bithumb’s potential IPO.

Sources familiar with the situation report that Lee Jeong-hoon, the former chairman of Bithumb, has re-entered the company as its registered director. Due to an ongoing investigation into accusations of bribery, the board of directors has omitted CEO Lee Sang-jun from consideration for a position.

Furthermore, according to the same sources, Bithumb’s decision to go public stemmed from its reluctance to cede additional market share to Upbit, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea.

Bithumb Turmoil: Embezzlement Charges & Leadership Crisis Unfold

Moreover, Upbit is now the leading cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, with Bithumb trailing far behind in terms of daily trading volume. Upbit’s monthly trading volumes exceeded those of Coinbase and Binance for the first time in July.

When South Korean authorities raided the offices of Upbit and Bithumb in May, it was because of allegations of fraudulent cryptocurrency trading on behalf of a local lawmaker. This incident brought unwanted attention to both companies.

After a protracted police investigation into his purportedly illegal activities, one of Bithumb’s top shareholders and suspected “real owner,” Kang Jong-hyun, was taken into custody on embezzlement charges in Feb.

Jong-hyun, aged 41, is Kang Ji-yeon’s older sibling, who serves as the leader of Inbiogen, an affiliate of Bithumb. Inbiogen holds the most significant ownership stake in Vidente, the primary shareholder in Bithumb, possessing a 34.2% interest.

However, CoinGecko data reveals that Bithumb, created in 2014, had approximately $580 million in 24-hour trading volume at the time of publication.

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