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In a move to regain market dominance, South Korea’s Bithumb is paving the way for an unprecedented Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the crypto exchange industry. This strategic decision emerges as a direct challenge to Upbit, currently the market leader with about an 85% share.

Bithumb’s initiative underscores a pivotal shift towards restoring trust and authority in the company’s operations.

Bithumb Moves Forward With Crypto Exchange IPO Plans

Bithumb Korea, the operating entity of Bithumb, has chosen Samsung Securities as its underwriter, marking a significant step towards its IPO, slated for the second half of 2025.

Although the focus is initially on a KOSDAQ listing, there remains an open possibility of transitioning to the KOSPI securities market. This move, rather than being a mere financial maneuver, signifies Bithumb’s commitment to enhancing its corporate governance and management transparency.

It is also a strategic effort to regain the top spot in the market from Upbit, leveraging improved trust and reputation in the marketplace.

Top 4 Korean Crypto Exchanges Market Share Including Bithumb and Upbit. Source: DeSpread
Top 4 Korean Crypto Exchanges Market Share Including Bithumb and Upbit. Source: DeSpread

At the heart of this transformation is the company’s former Chairman, Lee Jeong-hoon. Bithumb Holdings has now reinstated Jeong-hoon as a registered director.

This change in leadership is accompanied by an executive reshuffle with Lee Sang-jun, CEO of Bithumb Holdings, being replaced. The CEO role is now consolidated under Jaewon Lee, who is expected to spearhead the IPO.

Read more: Top 7 Crypto Exchanges With the Lowest Spreads in 2023

Rebuilding Public Image

This restructuring within Bithumb comes at a crucial time for the company. Earlier this year, Lee Jung-hoon, the company’s founder, walked free from a $70 million fraud trial involving BXA tokens.

The Seoul Central District Court, led by Judge Kang Gyu-Tae, found no guilt in Lee’s actions. Kang Gyu-Tae eventually dismissed allegations of his involvement in a fraudulent transaction dating back to 2018. The ruling has played a significant role in stabilizing the company’s public image.

At the time, the exchange issued the following statement:

“Bithumb is operated under a system of professional managers, and former Chairman Lee Jeong-hoon is not involved in the management of Bithumb.”

As Bithumb forges ahead with its IPO plans, it focuses on financial growth and restoring the market’s trust.


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