South Korean group Hanwha has purchased a 6.15% stake in Dunamu, the parent company of Upbit, in a move that sees the group become part-owners of Korea’s largest digital currency exchange.
In a deal reported to be worth $52 million, Hanwha has invested through its brokerage arm, Hanwha Investment and Securities, which will acquire 2.06 million shares. The deal is expected to close on February 22.
The deal is only the latest investment in the blockchain space from Hanwha Group, with several previous deals under their belt.
The group has previously backed Stellar-powered blockchain firm Lightnet as part of its $31 million funding round, as well as backing blockchain data services startup CrossAngle in its $3 million raise.
The investment in Upbit is the group’s most high profile backing for the digital currency sector to date, and looks set to be of mutual benefit to the exchange as it continues to broaden its horizons.
According to a spokesperson for the company, the investment in Upbit is seen as a medium to long-term investment in Dunamu and the prospects for the cryptocurrency exchange sector in South Korea.
“As we are focusing on developing more digital services, we anticipate to achieve meaningful results in fintech-related businesses.”
“Since Dunamu already has a high-skilled innovative finance service, we decided to cooperate with the financial technology firm.”
The investment comes at a time of strong growth for Upbit, both domestically and overseas. Upbit has recently been involved in the launch of an exchange in Thailand, offering a rival in what has until now been a digital currency market dominated by one large player.
The exchange has also been expanding its footprint in South Korea and other neighboring countries, after rebuilding from a major hack in November 2019. With the purchase of the stake in Upbit now a formality, the deal leaves local competitor Bithumb still struggling to find a buyer.
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