Plastic surgeon buys top S. Korea Bitcoin exchange

October 12, 2018 | By | Reply More

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Bithumb is the biggest virtual currency exchange in South Korea, which has emerged as one of the world’s top Bitcoin markets (AFP pic)

SEOUL: A consortium led by a prominent Seoul plastic surgeon purchased a controlling stake in South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, reports said Friday.

The hyper-wired South has emerged as one of the world’s top Bitcoin markets, at one point accounting for more than 20% of global bitcoin transactions — about 10 times the country’s share of the global economy.

Singapore-based BK Global Consortium bought a 50% stake plus one share in Bithumb, the country’s biggest virtual currency exchange, from shareholder BTC Holdings for about 400 billion won (US$353 million), Yonhap news agency and other South Korean media said, citing industry sources.

Bithumb has more than a million customers but suffered a devastating hacking attack in June that left more than US$30 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen.

South Korean exchanges have been hit by a series of attacks by hackers who stole millions of dollars, contributing to the market losing steam as prices tumbled.

The BK consortium is an investment group led by Kim Byung-gun, a high-profile plastic surgeon who founded BK Plastic Surgery Hospital, a major clinic in Seoul that also has operations in Singapore.

Cryptocurrencies have plunged since the end of 2017, when Bitcoin hit a record high near US$20,000, having surged from less than US$1,000 just 11 months earlier. The unit is now worth around US$6,210.

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