An investment group led by plastic surgeon and crypto investor Kim Byung-gun has bought a controlling stake in the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, Bloomberg reported.
Singapore-based BK Global Consortium acquired a 50 percent stake plus one share in Bithumb from shareholder BTC Holdings for about $354 million. BK Global Consortium is a major investor in BTC Holdings.
The deal underscores Byung-gun’s rising stature in the crypto world. Besides turning his surgical practice into a thriving business he is CEO of BK Medical Group Aesthetic Clinic in Singapore. He later developed a deep interest in technology and blockchain, investing in bitcoin (BTC) as well as the Bithumb exchange.
In addition, he is among the biggest shareholders in Hugel, a supplier of botulinum toxin, which is the foundational compound of plastic surgery’s best friend, Botox. Hugel, which had sales of over $2.5 billion last year, is traded on the South Korean Exchange.
In 2017, Kim Byung-gun founded the ICO Platform, a Singapore-based blockchain entity that provides consulting and other support services to blockchain projects that are headed for initial coin offerings. The company’s crowdfunding platform matches companies with potential investors.
BK Global Consortium will complete the deal in February, Bloomberg reported.
CoinMarketCap ranked Bithumb as the world’s third-largest exchange by trade volume. Its 24-hour volume was over $865 million. It generated more than $35 billion in profits for the first part of 2018.
Yet, the exchange has also had a rocky year. In January, the company had to pay a $28 million bill for back taxes, although it was not found guilty of tax evasion. A June security breach resulted in the theft of more than $31 million in cryptocurrencies. Bithumb later said that it had recouped some of the losses.
South Korea has been among the most intense and volatile countries in the cryptocurrency landscape. Korean investors who plunged into the bull market lost huge amounts on their investments. The government banned ICOs and has been considering ways to bulk up regulation.