As reported by korean news outlet Naver this morning in Seoul, Bithumb has been sold to Singapore-based BK Global Consortium.They paid 400 million won ($353 million) for a majority stake , having previously held a minority position in the company.Bithumb has been one of the world’s busiest cryptocurrency exchanges since late last year. The price paid is much lower than an appraisal made in early February, 2018, of about $880mn.
Majority Stake deal
Under the new deal, which officials hope to finalize in the coming month, BK’s leader, plastic surgeon and investor Kim Byung-gun, will go from the exchange’s fifth-largest to the main shareholder.Previously, the majority stake was held by BTC Korea Holdings.
Naver quotes a Bithumb representative as commenting about the sale-
“Kim, who demonstrated his multinational management ability in the field of medical care, has invested in fintech blockchain companies in Singapore.He is the right person to pursue the systemization and globalization of the virtual currency exchange. “
The consortium placed the value of Bithumb at more than $1.8bn, plus the management rights premium. It much higher than the previously estimated value of about $1bn in existing markets.
Bithumb Plans Stable coins
The future will also see the issuance of the company’s own tokens in the form of fiat currency-backed cryptographic stablecoins, with details still forthcoming. An official from BK Global 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.”
Kim’s current known plans include the creation of Bithumb DEX, through his Hong Kong subsidiary this month. A decentralized exchange platform along the lines of offerings from Binance and Coinbase.It will enable users around the world to send and receive virtual currency more smoothly.
In addition, BK is eyeing a “blockchain e-commerce payment system that significantly reduces virtual currency price volatility and settlement fees” in partnership with Singaporean e-marketplace Q2.
Bithumb had faced a testing period during 2018, with a $17 million hack and accompanying rumors following trading suspicions leading the exchange to temporarily disappear from listings of resources such as Coinmarketcap. It was forced to suspend account registrations for most of August after failing to smooth over problems with its banking partner. So,the existing problem of hacking, especially apparent in Korean exchanges, can presumably be solved easier on a Dex.
Sea of Opportunities
Even though blockchain inclusive policies are shaping up slowly in South Korea . The regulatory problems are still a big barrier to the further growth of the company. The change of management at Bithumb could be an opportunity for the blockchain industry to gain momentum. A BK Global Consortium official said,
Mid-tier commissions could be reduced to 0% if a federation of companies held by BK Consortium is created. This would create a competitive advantage over existing e-commerce companies.
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