Bithumb’s Delayed IPO Triggers 57% Annual Loss

Bithumb Korea, the company that operates the Bithumb cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, has reported a significant decline in annual revenue for 2023. According to a report from Korean news outlet Newdaily, the exchange’s sales revenue fell by 57.6% to 1,358 billion won in 2023, down from 3,201 billion won in the previous year. Net profit also decreased by 74.5% to 243 billion won, although it remained positive for the fourth consecutive year. The decline in revenue can be attributed to the decrease in the value of cryptocurrencies during the crypto winter. Bithumb’s decision to offer fee-free trading in the fourth quarter of 2023 contributed to the drop in revenue.

Despite these losses, Bithumb has been focusing on expanding its availability throughout South Korea in the past year, even in challenging market conditions. This year, the company plans to strengthen its services to drive improvements in performance. Bithumb may face competition in the South Korean market from Crypto.com, which recently announced the launch of its cryptocurrency trading app for retail investors in the country. This development could pose a threat to Bithumb’s market share.

Bithumb had previously expressed its intention to become the first digital asset company to go public on the South Korean stock market. Reports emerged in November 2023 that the company was planning to have an initial public offering (IPO) on the Kosdaq, South Korea’s equivalent of the U.S. Nasdaq, in the second half of 2025. The company had taken steps to prepare for its IPO, including setting up a non-exchange business. Bithumb has now reconsidered its IPO plans following scrutiny over the role of its former Chairman Lee Jeong-hoon. This suggests that there may be internal issues within the company. Bithumb officials claim that the delay in the IPO is not due to legal issues but rather a reassessment of their internal strategy.

These recent developments come in the midst of a changing regulatory landscape in South Korea. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) has proposed a new amendment that would require new executives of crypto firms to obtain regulatory approval before assuming their roles. If accepted, this amendment could potentially delay the appointment of new executives until their applications are formally approved by the FSC.

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