The South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is still planning to launch an initial public offering (IPO), despite facing financial difficulties and legal problems. Bithumb aims to become the first crypto exchange in South Korea to go public, with the goal of increasing transparency and external verification of its operations. While rumors circulated about rival exchange Upbit launching an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, Bithumb hopes to surpass its competitor by listing on the Korea Stock Exchange. Bithumb has selected Samsung Securities as its underwriter and has begun the IPO process, aiming to complete the listing by the second half of 2025. However, the timing of the IPO announcement is not ideal for Bithumb, as the company has recently posted operating losses and faced legal issues involving its executives. Bithumb sees an IPO as a strategy to gain public trust and reduce the gap between itself and Upbit, which dominates the domestic crypto market in South Korea. In order to have a successful IPO, Bithumb needs to improve its management structure and increase transparency. Additionally, new draft regulations may require IPO candidate firms to disclose the criminal records of their CEOs, executives, owners, and major stakeholders.
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