South Korea’s Bithumb to Issue Own Token in Singapore

Crypto exchange’s coin said to target large-scale investors

by Maya Bogdanova
23 April • 2 min
In Coins

South Korea’s major cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is considering to issue its own digital coin in Singapore, local media outlet TokenPost reported on Thursday.

The initial coin offering (ICO) of the “BITHUMB Coin” is expected to be conducted in Singapore as token sales are currently banned in South Korea.  Bithumb is reportedly targeting large-scale investors such as institutional investors, rather than individual ones. Expected launch date and the size of the venture remain unknown.

The price of the new coin is expected to surge more than 10 times upon launch, based on past experience with other digital coins, industry sources noted.

Bithumb is not the first crypto exchange to launch its own token. In January, Chinese crypto exchange Huobi announced its plans to issue Huobi Token (HT) that would be capped at 500 million tokens. Huobi noted that the token would not be an ICO, revealing that only active users of the trading platform would be able to receive HT. Hong Kong-based Binance and KuCoin have also joined the party, issuing their own coins in recent months.

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South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) banned all ICO activities in the country in September 2017 on the basis of “increased risk of financial scams.” In a bid to evade restrictions in the country, some South Korean crypto exchanges are seeking to open branches abroad. ICON (ICX), which is being touted as the Korean version of the popular Ethereum (EHT) cryptocurrency, was issued in Switzerland and started trading in March. Earlier this week, Coinone, the number three crypto exchange in South Korea, also announced its plans to launch an exchange in Indonesia in June.

Bithumb is the fifth largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume in the world and the largest in South Korea. Earlier this month, the exchange published its first audit report, detailing its financial performance as well as crypto reserves worth approximately USD 6 billion kept in 12 cryptocurrencies.

Bithumb notably was the victim of a major security breach in June 2017, after cybercriminals hacked an employee’s personal computer. The stolen data included phone, account numbers and transaction records. Money was stolen from 266 of those accounts, which police estimated could amount to KRW 7 billion (USD 6.53 million). In December 2017, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) imposed fines totaling KRW 60 million after concluding that Bithumb’s lax cybersecurity contributed to those incidents. This was KCC’s first punitive action against a crypto exchange.