Key takeaways :
- Bithumb prepares for a groundbreaking IPO, aiming to challenge Upbit’s overwhelming 85% share in the virtual asset sector
- The IPO serves as a strategic move in Bithumb’s bid to disrupt Upbit’s prevailing market dominance.
Bithumb, South Korea’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, is on a determined journey towards an initial public offering (IPO), a pivotal step in reclaiming its foothold in the market.
With a strategic eye on the KOSDAQ market and potential consideration for the KOSPI market, the exchange is gearing up to challenge Upbit’s dominant 85% market share, aiming to regain its once-held supremacy, currently standing at 10%.
Scheduled for the latter half of 2025, the IPO will primarily focus on a KOSDAQ listing, with an eye on the KOSPI market under specific conditions. The groundwork for this move involves a recent overhaul in Bithumb’s leadership structure.
Former Chairman Lee Jung-hoon has been reinstated as a director at Bithumb Holdings, while CEO Lee Sang-jun faced board removal over allegations of coin listing solicitation. CEO duties at Bithumb Holdings will now be shared by Jaewon Lee, also serving as the CEO of Bithumb Korea.
Lee Sang-jun’s removal from the board is linked to controversies over soliciting coin listings.
Jaewon Lee, the CEO of Bithumb Korea and Bithumb Holdings, assumes leadership, poised to guide the company towards an IPO under former Chairman Lee’s guidance.
Bithumb’s tight-lipped stance on IPO details might signify a strategic approach, yet the confirmation of an underwriter indicates significant progress toward a new chapter for the exchange. The mid-year report for the current year showcases robust financial product assets surpassing 400 billion won, eliminating the need for external financing.
Rather than a financial requirement, the IPO is seen as a strategic move to rebuild market trust, essential for regaining the top spot conceded to Upbit. Set for the latter part of 2025, the IPO signifies a pivotal stride in Bithumb’s pursuit to challenge Upbit’s prevailing market dominance.
This shift in leadership coincides with Bithumb’s efforts to enhance governance and management transparency.
With over 400 billion won in financial assets, Bithumb stands strong without the need for external capital, making the IPO less about funding operations and more about rebuilding trust. The exchange, marred by past scandals leading to regulatory scrutiny in South Korea, aims to use this move as a pivot towards a more trust-centric approach, crucial for its redemption in the highly competitive realm of virtual asset exchanges.