Bithumb, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, is allegedly up for sale to the highest bidder, according to the South Korean news outlet Herald. Responsible for more than 50% of the domestic trading volume with 4.77 million users, Bithumb is considered the primary driver of cryptocurrency trading in the country.
According to the news report, Bithumb Holdings is now trying to sell its 74% stake in Bithumb Korea. Several buyers have already sent letters of intent, offering between $430 million and $604 million for the exchange. The interested parties are unknown at the time.
The Seoul Metropolitan police are currently investigating the exchange’s chairman Lee Jung Hoon for incurring deliberate investor loss of ~$25 million and evading property responsibilities. The police have also raided the exchange twice this month.
This makes selling Bithumb less than easy
The Korean branch of KPMG, Samjong KPMG, is in charge of the sale and enforcing compliance with local laws. The buyer will also be responsible for implementing the revised bill of the Special Payments Act starting from March 2021. The revised bill lays the foundational requirements for reporting and operation processes, regulates licenses for digital asset service providers, and ensures compliance with FATF recommendations.
According to local news outlets, the South Korean investment banking industry perceives the sale of Bithumb Holdings as an effort for investors to relieve themselves of the legal and managerial disputes, recover their investment, and exit the market unscathed.
BK Global Consortium was expected to purchase in 2018. The deal was scrapped after the investor failed to pay the full amount. The price at the time was allegedly $345 million.