SEOUL • A Singapore-based consortium led by a prominent Seoul plastic surgeon bought a controlling stake in South Korea's largest cryptocurrency exchange.
BK Global Consortium bought a 50 per cent stake plus one share in Bithumb, the country's biggest virtual currency exchange, from shareholder BTC Holdings for about 400 billion won (S$486 million), Yonhap news agency and other media said yesterday, citing industry sources.
The hyper-wired country has emerged as one of the world's top bitcoin markets, at one point accounting for more than 20 per cent of global bitcoin transactions. But South Korean exchanges have been hit by a series of attacks by hackers recently. Bithumb, which has more than a million customers, suffered a devastating hacking attack in June that saw more than US$30 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen.
The Seoul government has banned initial coin offerings and is working on legislation to regulate virtual currency exchanges.
The BK consortium is led by high-profile plastic surgeon Kim Byung-gun, the founder of Seoul's BK Plastic Surgery Hospital, which also has operations in Singapore.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG