- Bithumb is preparing to become the first digital asset trading platform to go public in South Korea.
- Bithumb is planning an initial public offering (IPO) on South Korea’s junior stock exchange, KOSDAQ.
- The exchange has chosen Samsung Securities as its underwriter, an essential step before an IPO, to assess its finances and evaluate public share pricing.
Major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is gearing up to make history as the first digital asset trading platform to go public in the country.
According to local news outlet Edaily, Bithumb is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) on the KOSDAQ, South Korea’s junior stock exchange, with a targeted listing date in the second half of 2025.
Bithumb declined to confirm specifics
Bithumb declined to confirm specifics but did reveal it recently chose investment bank Samsung Securities as its underwriter, a key step prior to an IPO. Companies appoint underwriters to assess their finances and evaluate public share pricing ahead of new listings.
Industry sources claim Bithumb’s move is partly motivated by preventing further market share losses to rival exchange Upbit, currently South Korea’s largest crypto trading platform. Upbit saw record trading volume in July, surpassing giants like Coinbase and Binance.
The company’s former chairman, Lee Jeong-hoon, has reportedly returned as a registered director to oversee the listing plans. However, CEO Lee Sang-jun was excluded from the board of directors because of an ongoing bribery investigation.
Both Bithumb and Upbit endured unwanted scrutiny this May when South Korean authorities raided their offices regarding allegedly fraudulent trading linked to a local lawmaker.
Earlier in 2022, Bithumb’s largest shareholder, Kang Jong-hyun, was arrested for suspected embezzlement and illicit activity after a lengthy police probe. His sister heads Bithumb affiliate Inbiogen, the exchange’s top stakeholder.
Successful exchange IPOs like Coinbase in the U.S. have proven highly lucrative, with exchange tokens trending upward post-listing. As the crypto market matures, more platforms are expected to follow Bithumb’s example in offering public shares.