In 2023, Bithumb Korea, a cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, reported a decrease in revenues. Based in Seoul, the exchange suffered a 57.6% decrease in sales revenue in 2023. The numbers fell from 3.201 billion won in 2023 to 1.358 billion won in 2022. On April 2, the Korean news outlet, Newdaily, also confirmed this. […]

In 2023, Bithumb Korea, a cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, reported a decrease in revenues. Based in Seoul, the exchange suffered a 57.6% decrease in sales revenue in 2023. The numbers fell from 3.201 billion won in 2023 to 1.358 billion won in 2022. On April 2, the Korean news outlet, Newdaily, also confirmed this. The company also recorded a net income decrease. It declined by 74.5% to 243 billion won in 2023 from 954 billion won in the previous year. However, Bithumb still secured its fourth consecutive year of profitability even though its proceeds decreased.

The decline of cryptocurrency values mainly caused the decrease in revenue, which is called the crypto winter. The other factor was Bithumb’s decision to provide free-of-charge trading in the last quarter. This policy was designed to pull more users, although it led to a fall in profit. The market has been trying to extend its influence in South Korea. It aims to improve its services to achieve more excellent performance in the future.

Bithumb’s IPO plans stall over strategy shift

As Bithumb was struggling with the financial crisis, the company was on the verge of making a big move. It aimed to be the first digital asset company to be listed on the South Korean stock exchange. IPO plans were targeting the second half of 2025 on the Kosdaq. Local media reports first suggested about these proposals in November 2023.

According to what was reported by the Korea Herald on March 24, Bithumb Korea was establishing a non-exchange business. This action was made to push its market introduction. Yet, domestic problems forced Bithumb to rethink its IPO aspirations.

The involvement of ex-chairman Lee Jeong-hoon in the corporation underwent investigation. This caused a re-evaluation of the IPO approach. Bithumb officials said that the delay had nothing to do with the legalities concerning Lee’s role. Rather, it was a reevaluation of the strategy in a changing institutional context. The development is in line with a new amendment brought by the Financial Services Commissions in South Korea. The amendment mandates that new crypto firm owners must get regulatory confirmation prior to assuming the positions.

Competitive landscape and regulatory environment

Bithumb’s revenue loss report was concurrent with Crypto.com’s announcement. Crypto.com announced it will launch a trading app for South Korean retail investors on April 29. This would be a challenge to Bithumb’s dominant share of the country’s market. Additionally, regulations regarding cryptocurrency companies in South Korea are tightening.

A newly proposed amendment by the Financial Services Commission could have a potential impact on the appointments of executives in the crypto industry. The new executives have to get official approval from the FSC before they can be allowed to start their duties.

Bithumb is in a downward financial spiral with certain regulatory issues. Simultaneously, it is reviewing its strategic position as well as the initial public offering (IPO) plans. The company continues to work on improving its offerings and growing its market position.