Bithumb shuts down Seoul office due to COVID-19

Bithumb digital currency exchange is shutting down some of its offline customer support centers. The South Korean exchange cited the increasing COVID-19 infections and more stringent social distancing rules as the reasons for closure.

In its notice, the exchange revealed that it would be temporarily suspending its offline support center in Gangnam district in the capital, Seoul. As per the notice, local authorities have upgraded social distancing rules in the city, forcing the November 24 closure of the exchange’s offices. The support center will remain shut down until further notice.

Bithumb will, however, handle user feedback via an online customer support center.

“We ask for your understanding and regret any inconvenience experienced as a result of the shutdown. We will inform you of the opening of the Gangnam customer support center through a separate notice.”

When Bithumb gradually reopens its Gangnam office, it may be under new ownership, with global giant Huobi reportedly eyeing a takeover. As CoinGeek reported, Bithumb shareholders would be open to the move. These shareholders are reportedly looking to sell the exchange for an amount ranging from $430 million to $604 million. The acquisition, if successful, would make Huobi one of the biggest players in East Asia.

The acquisition and temporary office closure, however, isn’t all that’s been going on at Bithumb. In early September, the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency raided the exchange’s offices over fraud allegations. As CoinGeek reported at the time, Bithumb is alleged to have falsely advertised Blockchain Exchange Alliance (BXA) tokens, claiming it would list them following an expected acquisition. When the acquisition fell through, so did the listing, consequently leading to a 99% price crash.

The police have also been investigating Lee Jung Hoon, the Bithumb Holdings’ chair. They allege that he attempted to transfers assets overseas without reporting to the relevant government agencies.

The only positive news for Bithumb in recent times was the dismissal of a data breach lawsuit against the exchange. An investor had sued the company for the loss of his $400,000 which he claimed was because of Bithumb’s negligence. The investor claimed the loss was in connection to the 2017 Bithumb data breach, but a high court judge dismissed his claims.

See also: CoinGeek Live panel on The Future of Exchanges & Trading in a Tokenized World

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