South Korea’s major crypto-currency exchange, Bithumb, is planning an initial public offering (IPO) or flotation, according to local media reports.
According to MoneyToday on June 24, Bithumb Korea, the operator of the trading platform, has begun preparing for a stock market launch, using Samsung Securities as an underwriter.
Bithumb would face a number of potential obstacles that could prevent it from applying for an IPO in South Korea, namely recent crypto tax issues.
South Korean Finance Minister confirms plan to tax cryptosystems
Earlier this month, South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-Ki announced plans to impose a tax on crypto currency, saying more details would be revealed in July.
In particular, in early 2020, Bithumb filed a complaint with the National Revenue Service, suggesting that the US$69 million tax bill imposed is unfounded, given that cryptomonies are not legally recognized in the country.
The current regulatory uncertainty surrounding digital assets could prevent local regulators from giving the green light to Bithumb’s IPO application in the near future, the new report argues.
Bithumb crypto currency exchange goes to court for $69 million tax bill
In addition, MoneyToday notes that the current „opaque“ composition of Bithumb shareholders could also raise questions. Bithumb Korea’s largest investor is Bithumb Holdings (formerly BTC Holding Co.), with a reported 74.1% stake. According to local reports in December 2019, Bithumb Holdings executive Lee Jung Hoon was sued for economic fraud as a result of several tangled acquisitions involving a Singapore subsidiary called BTHMB Holdings.
Previous IPO attempt by Bithumb
Report: The reverse merger could make the Bithumb cryptobag public in the U.S.
Records show that Bithum has already considered going public in the past. In January 2019, CNBC reported that the Singapore-based holding company Blockchain Exchange Alliance, which had a controlling interest in Bitcoin Loophole at the time, was seeking to list in the United States through a reverse merger, but those plans have apparently failed since then.
Cointelegraph contacted Bithumb for additional comments, but received no response until press time. This story will be updated, in case we hear from the company.