Bithumb, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea by trading volume, is being sold for the equivalent of about $353 million to a Singapore-based investor group, local portal Naver reported on Friday. BK Global Consortium, which is led by plastic surgeon Kim Byung-gun, will pay 400 billion won for a majority stake in Bithumb.
Previously, the investor group held a minority stake in the crypto exchange operator. It is now assuming control of Bithumb by purchasing 50% plus one share in BTC Holdings, the largest stakeholder in the exchange. The transaction is set to close in February, Bloomberg cited a group spokesperson as saying. BK Global Consortium plans to operate the platform and launch new services and stablecoins.
Kim, whose alliance is behind a network of plastic and aesthetic clinics in Singapore and South Korea, is an avid investor in blockchain and biotech startups. Last year, he reportedly launched a blockchain analysis and crowdfunding venture in Singapore.
According to Coinmarketcap data, Bithumb is currently the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world in terms of trading volume. In the first half of 2018, the company reported 218.6 billion won of operating profit and 39.3 billion won of net income. The figures were provided by Vidente Co, which indirectly controls a stake in Bithumb.
It is expected that the buyout would restructure Bitsum’s ownership, bringing reliability and transparency and ensuring a foundation for responsible management. Naver quoted a Bithumb representative as saying:
“Kim, who has demonstrated his multinational management ability in the field of medical care, has invested in fintech, blockchain, and biotech firms in Singapore. He is the right person to pursue the systemization and globalization of the cryptocurrency exchange.”
The consortium hopes that Bithumb would have a key role in the projects that connect cryptocurrencies with real-world use cases.
Bithumb got hacked in June this year, the criminals stealing over $30 million in cryptocurrency.