Plastic surgeon-led consortium acquires $352m stake in South Korean crypto exchange

Circuit boards sit on shelves at a cryptocurrency mining facility in Incheon, South Korea, on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

A group led by plastic surgeon and startup investor Kim Byung-gun is boosting its bet on Bithumb, one of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

Kim’s BK Global Consortium signed a deal to buy 50 percent plus one share of BTC Holding Co, the largest investor in Bithumb’s operator, for about 400 billion won ($352 million), according to a spokesperson for the trading platform. BK Global Consortium was already the fifth-largest shareholder of BTC Holding.

Kim is increasing his stake after a wild ride for cryptocurrencies over the past two years. South Korea became one of the world’s most active markets for digital assets in 2017 as individual investors across the country piled in, but the speculative frenzy has faded this year as many digital coins lost more than half their value. Korea’s government has banned initial coin offerings and is working on legislation to regulate virtual currency exchanges.

Bithumb, ranked by CoinMarketCap.com as the world’s third-largest crypto exchange by reported trading value, posted 218.6 billion won of operating profit in the first half and 39.3 billion won of net income, according to Vidente Co, which holds an indirect stake in Bithumb’s operator.

The transaction by Kim’s BK Global Consortium will be completed in February, the spokesperson said. Kim made his fortune investing in technology and biotech startups and last year formed a blockchain analysis and crowdfunding company in Singapore, according to a profile by Korea Joongang Daily newspaper.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.