An accounting firm has confirmed that Bithumb, South Korea’s major crypto exchange, is up for sale.
As reported yesterday, the troubled Bithumb Holdings, which owns over 70% of the exchange is actively looking for a buyer. Accounting firm Samjong KPMG, a joint-venture firm that includes Dutch giant KPMG, one of the global “big four,” told Cryptonews.com,
“It is correct that Samjong KPMG is serving as an M&A advisor for Bithumb.”
The company declined to comment any further.
Investment banking sources have also told South Korean media outlets that “several” firms have already submitted “letters of intent” as the hunt for a buyer begins in earnest. A price of between USD 430 million and USD 602 million has been mentioned.
South Korean blockchain consultant Mira Kim told Cryptonews.com,
“Bithumb is the jewel in the crown of domestic crypto exchanges – perhaps even of all Asian exchanges. In 2018, a deal to buy 50% of the firm was agreed for USD 350 million, so I think it’s entirely realistic that a company will agree to pay more than that now for an even bigger stake in the company, if that’s indeed what’s on offer. Big domestic companies’ interest is real, I’m led to believe – they have been piqued, but regulatory issues could be off-putting.”
The crypto industry is hoping that the introduction of the first crypto-specific piece of legislation next year will provide legitimacy for domestic exchanges. South Korean mega-companies such as Hyundai and Kakao have also unveiled plans to create what sounds like de facto crypto exchanges, while Samsung smartphones now feature “blockchain wallets” capable of storing cryptoassets.
International players may also look to move into the lucrative South Korean market – with industry experts last year speculating that an American or Chinese buyer could emerge to snap up Bithumb, following the collapse of the 2018 agreement.
Meanwhile, Business Post has reported that Bithumb has begun offering a crypto custody service to corporate clients.
The service is called Bithumb Custody and will go live on September 25 for “major” domestic firms. The exchange said that it will offer a range of key and multisig management functions to help bolster security and will ensure anti-money laundering and know-your-customer (KYC) compliance protocols are met.