Bithumb Eyes Historic IPO on Korean Stock Exchange

Bithumb, a leading South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, is reportedly preparing for a public listing on the KOSDAQ (South Korea’s equivalent to the U.S.-based Nasdaq), aiming to be the first digital asset firm to do so.

According to a recent local news report from Edaily, the exchange has targeted the second half of 2025 for its initial public offering (IPO). This move positions Bithumb at a significant juncture, reflecrting the growing integration of digital assets into mainstream financial markets.

Founded in 2014, Bithumb has established itself as a significant player in the cryptocurrency exchange market. At the time of this report, the exchange reported a 24-hour trading volume of approximately $580 million according to on-chain data. This reflects the robust activity and user engagement on the platform, even while regulatory and corporate challenges internal to the firm persist given its position in the South Korean crypto space.

Management Shifts and Market Dynamics

While Bithumb has not officially confirmed the IPO plans, it has recently selected Samsung Securities as its potential IPO underwriter, a critical step in the public listing process. The selection of such a prominent underwriter signals the seriousness of Bithumb’s intentions. Concurrently, there have been notable changes in the exchange’s leadership. Former chairman Lee Jeong-hoon has resumed his role as registered director, while CEO Lee Sang-jun, embroiled in an ongoing bribery investigation, has been excluded from the board of directors.

Bithumb’s decision to pursue a public listing appears partly driven by competitive pressures within the South Korean crypto exchange market. Currently, Bithumb ranks as the second-largest exchange in South Korea by daily trading volume, trailing behind Upbit. Upbit’s trading volumes in July surpassed global giants like Coinbase and Binance, underscoring the intense competition within the domestic market. Bithumb’s IPO ambitions can be seen as a strategic move to consolidate its market position and challenge Upbit’s dominance.

Regulatory Scrutiny and Legal Challenges

Bithumb and Upbit have both faced regulatory and legal challenges in recent times. In May, South Korean authorities raided their offices amid allegations of fraudulent crypto trading linked to a local lawmaker. Additionally, Bithumb shareholder Kang Jong-hyun was arrested in February on embezzlement charges following an investigation into his alleged illicit activities. Jong-hyun, deemed the “real owner” of Bithumb, is the elder brother of Kang Ji-yeon, the head of Bithumb affiliate Inbiogen, which holds the largest share in Vidente, Bithumb’s major shareholder.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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