- Bithumb, a major South Korean crypto exchange, aims to go public in 2025, eyeing a listing on KOSDAQ or KOSPI.
- The exchange’s IPO initiative is driven by a desire to regain market share and rebuild public trust, following internal corporate challenges.
Bithumb, one of South Korea’s premier cryptocurrency exchanges, is preparing for a significant leap in the industry with plans to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the latter half of 2025. This move aligns with the growing trend among leading crypto companies seeking public listings to garner additional capital and solidify their market presence.
Gearing Up for a Market Revival
According to local reports, Bithumb is targeting a listing on either the KOSDAQ, South Korea’s counterpart to the U.S. Nasdaq, or the Korea Exchange (KOSPI). The company has already initiated this process by selecting Samsung Securities as its underwriter, a crucial step in the journey toward a successful IPO. The underwriter’s role involves vetting the company for public offering viability and facilitating the share sales to the public during the IPO.
Reviving Market Presence and Trust
While capital acquisition is a typical goal of an IPO, Bithumb’s intention primarily focuses on rejuvenating its brand image and corporate structure. Founded in 2014, Bithumb boasts around eight million registered users and handles substantial daily trading volumes. Despite its considerable capitalization, with assets reportedly worth 400 billion won (approximately $300 million), the exchange has faced challenges that have eroded its market dominance.
The exchange’s loss of market share to Upbit, its primary competitor that launched in 2017, can be traced back to several corporate issues, including fraud investigations involving key shareholders and executives. These internal struggles have led to Upbit commanding a staggering 85% of South Korea’s crypto trading volume. Bithumb’s IPO is a strategic move to bridge this gap and prevent further erosion of its market position.
Bithumb’s Road to Recovery
As part of its recovery and IPO strategy, Bithumb has seen a reshuffling in its leadership. Former chairman Lee Jeong-hoon rejoins as the registered director, while CEO Lee Sang-jun steps down from the board. This reorganization aims to bolster investor confidence and streamline the company’s governance.
Market Impact and Future Prospects
The announcement of Bithumb’s upcoming IPO is expected to positively influence its market share. Currently, the exchange records a trading volume of $648 million in the past 24 hours, significantly lower than Upbit’s $3.2 billion. The IPO news may catalyze a renewed interest in Bithumb, potentially narrowing the gap with its rival.
Bithumb’s planned IPO in 2025 marks a pivotal moment in South Korea’s cryptocurrency exchange landscape. By strategically addressing its corporate issues and leveraging the IPO to rebuild trust and reclaim market share, Bithumb aims to reposition itself as a dominant player in the region’s thriving crypto economy. This development not only signifies Bithumb’s resilience but also highlights the evolving dynamics of cryptocurrency exchanges in the global financial ecosystem.