Bithumb, Korea’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, has been sold to Singapore-based BK Global Consortium for about 400 billion won ($352.5 million).
BK Global Consortium led by Kim Byung-gun, chairman of BK Group, aims to maximize the potential of the exchange by applying its block chain e-commerce settlement system and U.S. dollar-linked Stable Coin designed to substantially reduce commissions on the existing settlement system.
According to industry sources on Thursday, BK Global Consortium signed a definitive contract in Singapore to purchase a 51 percent interest from BTC Korea Holdings, the largest shareholder of Bithumb, and paid an upfront fee of $10 million.
The consortium will buy shares from 14 major shareholders including the largest owner. Kim, formerly the fifth largest shareholder, will become the largest Korean shareholder of Bithumb through this deal.
The plastic surgeon-turned business dynamo also doubles as chairman of Singapore ICO Platform. His consortium plans to deposit an additional $40 million within two weeks and finalize the transaction by December. Kim runs a plastic surgery clinic and Singapore BK Medical Group Hospital and has earned money from investing in BIT Computer, Hugel and other promising companies.
“Kim has demonstrated his multinational management ability in the field of healthcare, fintech, blockchain and biotech firms. He is the right person to pursue the systemization and globalization of the virtual currency exchange,” said a consortium official.
Early this year, Bithumb was rumored to be sold to Korean game developer NetMarble before its ownership structure had been questioned. The latest transaction will clarify its ownership structure and ensure reliability and transparency, providing a foundation for responsible management, said another source.
By Lee Seung-yoon and Minu Kim
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]