Economy 07-05-2024 04:33 4 Views

South Korea’s Bithumb May Re-appoint CEO as Exchange Edges Toward IPO

South Korea’s Bithumb crypto exchange may re-appoint its CEO Lee Jae-won, as the trading platform seeks to complete its planned IPO.

Per Business Post, Lee’s two-year term as Bithumb boss expires later this month. But industry figures believe he will be reappointed as the firm tries to fast-track its public offering plans.

Trading volumes on South Korea’s Bithumb crypto exchange over the past month. (Source: CoinGecko)

South Korea’s Bithumb Aiming for National IPO First


Bithumb wants to become the first crypto exchange to go public on the Korea Exchange.

The firm has reportedly developed plans to spin off some of its operations into a separate company  to speed up the process.

Lee became Bithumb CEO in May 2022 after serving as the head of the firm’s global operations.

He helmed a previous attempt to launch an IPO in 2020. But this bid was eventually shelved due to concerns about the firm’s “opaque governance structure.”

The 2020 attempt was also derailed by a prosecution service investigation into fraud charges leveled against the former Bithumb Holdings and Bithumb Korea board chairman Lee Jeong-hoon.

Lee Joeng-hoon has since been acquitted. Bithumb resurrected its IPO plans in November last year.

Local media reports that South Korea is taking decisive measures to combat the surge in cryptocurrency-related crimes and fraud cases by moving to establish its temporary virtual asset investigative unit as a permanent entity.This move co…https://t.co/yd7EObgib1

— Cryptonews.com (@cryptonews) April 29, 2024

Compliance to Take Priority


The media outlet reported that Bithumb is still planning a spin-off. But Bithumb will likely need to delay this for a while as it first prioritizes its compliance with the Act on the Protection of Virtual Asset Users, which will take effect from July 19, 2024.

The outlet wrote that “it seems unlikely that CEO Lee will be replaced” as the firm looks for “continuity in its IPO strategy.”

Lee has also been credited with turning the exchange’s fortunes around during crypto winter by temporarily doing away with commission fees.

The move briefly saw Bithumb’s trading volumes surpass those of the market-leading Upbit exchange.

Trading volumes on South Korea’s Upbit crypto exchange over the past month. (Source: CoinGecko)

The company has since fallen behind Upbit again after restoring commission fees. But Bithumb volumes have remained high in the period since.

Insiders also believe that Lee retains the backing of Lee Jeong-hoon. The latter may soon make a “return to the Bithumb board of directors,” the media outlet noted.

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