Business 23 January 2019

Erik Gibbs

Bithumb could go public in the US

Bithumb, the cryptocurrency exchange out of South Korea, could soon be a publicly-traded company in the U.S. According to a report by CNBC from yesterday, the controlling backer of Bithumb, Singapore-based holding company “BTHMB,” is going to acquire a public company in the U.S., which would allow it to be listed on a U.S.-based stock exchange.

Blockchain Industries, a holding company in the U.S., confirmed that it has entered into an agreement with the firm through a letter of intent (LOI). That deal would see BTHMB take control of the publicly-traded company through what is considered a reverse merger, an easier way for a company to be listed publicly as compared to issuing its own initial public offering (IPO). As a result of the LOI, BTHMB is being renamed Blockchain Exchange Alliance (BEA).

If the merger is accepted, BEA would become the majority shareholder of the new entity. It would also mark the first time a crypto exchange has ever gone public in the U.S.

BEA has previously showed interest in becoming a public company. It considered submitting an IPO in Singapore; however, the process takes as long as two years and the company didn’t want to wait. A source familiar with the company told CNBC that the newly-formed company would eventually uplist from offer shares on over-the-counter (OTC) markets to gaining a spot on either the NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange.

CNBC adds that it has taken a look at BEA’s investor deck and points out that the company “has broader plans in crypto beyond bitcoin. It’s planning to buy up and consolidate exchanges across the world. It plans on creating a global crypto exchange alliance, which is already underway. The group intends to have nine exchanges by the end of this year, and as many as 40 by the end of 2020.”

Bithumb suffered several bouts of bad news last year. Last June, the exchange lost $31 million in crypto after being hacked, although it was reportedly successful in recovering $14 million. In December, allegations that the exchange had faked trading data began to surface, leading the company to offer a public denial. It asserted at the time, “Bithumb is doing nothing to inflate trade volume. Bithumb is not selling mining-based coin. Bithumb is trying to get more customers by providing various promotions just like any other company in the world as a normal business.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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