Korean Crypto Giant Bithumb Makes U.S. Foray with Security Token Exchange Deal

Bithumb
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Cryptocurrency exchanges continue to demonstrate resilience despite this year’s downturn in trading volume and prices.

Most recently, Bithumb, which is South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, is making an expansion push, having partnered with seriesOne, a Miami, Florida-based crypto and ICO fundraising portal, to launch an exchange for regulated security tokens in the U.S. The companies are reportedly targeting the first half of 2019 for the launch of the new exchange for which Bithumb will provide investment and technical support.

The development unfolds as Bithumb recently announced plans to launch a decentralized crypto trading platform while regulated crypto exchange Bakkt is expected to make its U.S. debut this month. SeriesOne and Bithumb will also go head-to-head with Patrick Byrne’s tZero exchange, which is similarly a trading platform for blockchain-based tokens that are registered as securities with regulators.

While Bithumb’s social media accounts make no mention of the deal, seriesOne already has a foothold in the South Korean market with a subsidiary operating in the region, so a Bithumb partnership makes sense. SeriesOne spotlighted on social media a rise in “Korean won (KRW) crypto trades” and a push by lawmakers for a lifting of the ban on ICOs in the country. A Bithumb exchange representative reportedly stated:

“SeriesOne actively sought to strike a deal with Bithumb after assessing it as the most suitable partner. Bithumb will ramp up efforts to develop into a global financial firm as the blockchain-based asset tokenization is expected to spread globally down the road.”

SeriesOne pursued Bithumb despite the June 2018 hack that unfolded at the South Korean exchange in which $30 million in funds were stolen.  The exchange appears to have recovered, as evidenced by trading volume of $1.7 billion over the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

Security Token Push

There is a rising trend of regulated crypto exchanges in the U.S. on which security tokens are designed to trade even as policymakers continue to steer clear of issuing any formal regulatory framework. For instance, the launch of NYSE-parent Intercontinental Exchange-backed Bakkt is widely expected to serve as a catalyst for institutional capital into crypto.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs-backed blockchain startup Circle last month announced plans to acquire SeedInvest, a crowdfunding startup for companies to raise equity.  Circle, which owns crypto exchange Poloniex, is similarly readying a wave of security token listings.

“Crypto securities are going to become a major new category of securities that ultimately every business is going to adopt, just like every business has a website,” Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire recently told Bloomberg.

Bithumb’s new partner seriesOne recently filed an S-1 document with the U.S. SEC for “33,369,269 shares of common stock” and according to the company’s materials, all of its services are “are conducted via SEC approved exemptions.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Gerelyn is a fintech and cryptocurrency journalist who started her career writing about traditional finance/Wall Street. She has been reporting on financial services for the past 15-plus years. In full disclosure, she holds bitcoin (BTC).