South Korea’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange May Go Public on US Stock Market, Will Anyone Care?


US Stock ExchangeUS investors may soon be able to purchase shares in the company that owns South Korean bitcoin exchange Bithumb. But should they? | Source: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo


By US investors may soon be able to invest in one of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges following its listing on the over-the-counter (OTC) US stock market.

No, Silicon Valley darling and cryptocurrency unicorn Coinbase hasn’t decided to go public, but Bithumb — the largest bitcoin exchange in South Korea and one of the world’s highest-volume crypto trading platforms — could soon find its shares available to retail and institutional investors alike, albeit in a nontraditional way.

Bithumb Will Use Reverse Merger to List Shares in US
According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), US holding company Blockchain Industries has signed a “binding letter of intent” to merge with BTHMB, the Singaporean company that controls Bithumb.

From the announcement:

On January 16, 2019, Blockchain Industries, Inc. (the “Company”) entered into a binding letter of intent (the “Letter of Intent”) with BTHMB Holdings Pte. Ltd., a Singapore corporation (“BTHMB”). The Letter of Intent provides that the Company and BTHMB will negotiate the terms of a certain stock purchase whereby the Seller shall sell that certain number of shares of the Company’s Common Stock (the “Sale Shares”) representing a super majority of the Company’s outstanding shares of Common Stock. At the consummation of the transaction, the Company shall become a subsidiary of BTHMB.

South Korea bitcoin cryptocurrency

The proposed reverse merge would allow US investors to purchase shares in the company behind South Korea’s most prominent cryptocurrency exchange. | Source: Shutterstock

The move will see the new entity — dubbed Blockchain Exchange Alliance (BXA) — listed on an OTC market in the US, where its shares will be publicly-quoted. In short, Bithumb will use the “reverse merger” to go public with less scrutiny and red tape than accompanies an ordinary public listing, much as the Mike Novogratz-led Galaxy Digital did in Canada.

“We are thrilled to be part of this important initiative that is expected to bring liquidity, accessibility and expansion to the blockchain industry,” said Patrick Moynihan, CEO of Blockchain Industries. “By working with BXA, we expect to bring more advanced technology and better compliance practices into the public marketplace via a consolidated focus.”

“BXA is a global exchange alliance and the United States is a key factor to any global initiative,” said Byung Gun Kim, CEO of BXA.

"By unifying our businesses, we benefit from the focused expertise of Blockchain Industries. As a result, we have tremendous growth opportunities in this region, and we expect quality results from this in North America."

It’s not clear how much BXA shares will be worth once they begin trading on the OTC market. Last October, Kim’s company purchased a 50 percent plus one stake in Bithumb for around $350 million. Since then, the bitcoin price has declined another 45 percent, though global trading volumes have seen a moderate uptick.

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