- Bithumb is preparing for an IPO to become the first publicly listed digital asset company on the South Korean stock market.
- The move to go public comes amid leadership shifts and competition with rival exchange Upbit.
- Despite facing regulatory challenges, Bithumb remains a significant player in South Korea's crypto exchange market.
Bithumb, one of South Korea's leading crypto exchanges, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO).
Local news outlet Edaily reported that the move could see Bithumb become the first digital asset company listed on the South Korean stock market, Kosdaq. The stock exchange serves as South Korea's answer to the United States' Nasdaq.
Did you know?
Want to get smarter & wealthier with crypto?
Subscribe - We publish new crypto explainer videos every week!
What is AAVE in Crypto? (Beginner-Friendly Explainer)
It is worth noting that the listing is anticipated for the second half of 2025.
While Bithumb has remained tight-lipped about confirming its IPO plans, recent developments indicate serious progress. The crypto exchange has chosen Samsung Securities as its underwriter, a critical step in safeguarding the company's financial stability in preparation for going public.
Before going public, Bithumb witnessed a significant shift in its leadership. Former chairman Lee Jeong-hoon has returned as the registered director. In contrast, CEO Lee Sang-jun was removed from the board of directors due to the ongoing investigation into bribery allegations.
Bithumb's decision to pursue a public listing is partly seen as a strategic move to maintain its competitive edge against South Korea's largest crypto exchange, Upbit. Despite being the second-largest in terms of daily trading volume, Bithumb faces a significant gap compared to Upbit, which recently outpaced global giants like Coinbase and OKX in monthly trading volumes.
The path to an IPO is paved with legal challenges. Both Bithumb and Upbit attracted regulatory scrutiny in May following raids by South Korean authorities over alleged fraudulent crypto trading activities. Additionally, Kang Jong-hyun, a major Bithumb shareholder suspected of being the "real owner," was arrested on embezzlement charges earlier this year.
Bithumb's anticipated IPO signifies a major advancement for the crypto industry in South Korea, potentially making it the first digital asset company to be listed on the Kosdaq. Despite facing challenges, this move underlines Bithumb's commitment to strengthening its market presence and pioneering cryptocurrency integration with traditional financial markets.