FTX Mulls buys Bithumb, South Korea’s largest stock exchange
Key points to remember
- FTX is in talks with Bithumb about a potential acquisition, says a new report from Bloomberg.
- The two firms have been in advanced talks for several months. A Bithumb spokesperson said nothing could be confirmed “at this stage”.
- FTX seems to be on a buying spree; it recently acquired crypto lending platform BlockFi after suffering a liquidity crunch.
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Leading crypto exchange FTX is reportedly negotiating a potential acquisition of leading South Korean exchange Bithumb. No deal has been confirmed at this time.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire continues to expand.
According Bloomberg, global crypto trading platform FTX is in advanced talks to buy top South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb. Although no deal has yet been announced, the two companies have reportedly been in talks for several months.
When asked to comment, a spokesperson for Bithumb said nothing could be confirmed “at this stage”.
Bithumb is one of the leading centralized crypto exchanges in South Korea, along with Upbit and Coinone. Created in 2014, it currently lists 188 cryptocurrencies. Data from CoinGecko To display that Bithumb reached over $3 billion in daily trading volume at the end of November 2021; the number is now down to around 558 million.
The collapse of major crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital has led several crypto companies to struggle with liquidity, some of them (such as crypto lending company Celsius and crypto exchange platform digital travel) suspending customer withdrawals and filing for bankruptcy.
FTX CEO and co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, however, has taken on a new role as the crypto industry’s lender of last resort. Through its various companies, Bankman-Fried extended credit to Voyager (pre-bankruptcy filing) and acquired BlockFi. He also said more than $2 billion is ready to be deployed for further bailouts.
It seems unlikely that the acquisition of Bithumb is due to the recent market turmoil, given that talks have reportedly been ongoing for several months. Instead, FTX may consider expanding its presence in South Korea in a move reminiscent of its 2020 purchase by Blockfolio.
Disclosure: At the time of writing this article, the author of this article owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.