Bithumb, the largest digital asset exchange in South Korea at press time by trading volume, has sold a majority stake in the company to Singaporean BK Global Consortium. Reportedly, BK bought more than 38 percent of the total ownership in the exchange for 400 billion won ($353 million).
The contract was finalized yesterday, as the BTC Holdings Company, which is the currently the largest shareholder of Bithumb, holding 76 percent of its equity, signed the contract to sell 50% + 1 share to the Singaporean blockchain consortium. Once the deal is completed on December 12th, BK will become the biggest owner of Bithumb’s equity.
The BK Global Consortium is an investment group, headed by a prominent plastic surgeon Kim Byung-gun, who has founded BK Plastic Surgery Hospital, a major clinic in Seoul that also has operations in Singapore. Sources claim that Kim is an early crypto investor and has founded an ICO platform and a consultancy in Singapore last year. Under the new deal, he will rise from the fifth-largest to the main shareholder at the exchange.
According to the News Asia report, the consortium claimed that, “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.“
Kim has already announced the future plans for the exchange, which include the launch of Bithumb DEX – a decentralized crypto exchange. The new venture will be based in Hong Kong and will ensure smoother and more secure global crypto transactions.
BK also aims to use the exchange in conjunction with its blockchain-based e-commerce settlement system in order to reduce commission. Mid-tier commissions could be reduced to 0%, giving a great advantage over other major online retailers. A BK official said that, “E-commerce companies such as Amazon and Alibaba are receiving large commission fees, which have become an issue for consumers. Blockchain payment systems can reduce those commission fees.“
Finally, Bithumb is also considering its own stablecoin offering as a way 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“, said the spokesperson for the company.
It has been a mixed year for Bithumb, as the exchange was hacked earlier this year. A reported $30 million worth of cryptocurrencies have been stolen, which Bithumb has fully reimbursed to its customers. However, despite the hacker probe, the exchange still managed to make a $35 million net profit in the first half of the year.
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