Bithumb is a cryptocurrency exchange started in Seoul, South Korea, a country inhabited by some of the most active cryptocurrency traders in the world. The exchange enables traders to exchange Korean Won (KRW) for most popular cryptocurrencies.
The exchange was founded by Daesik Kim, who had previously worked in the gaming industry as a developer. In March 2018, Daesik left Bithumb to join Bezant, a blockchain-based payment protocol and application firm.
Bithumb has claimed its foremost management ideology is the protection of customer assets. Its operator BTC Korea previously announced its intent to fully comply with future regulations from the South Korean government and to adequately capitalize itself to protect its clients. The exchange stated that it was open to steps such as the identification of its clients by their real names.
The company released its first audit report outlining Bithumb's financial performance in April 2018. At the time the exchange had 220 employees and 15 shareholders. It generated ₩333.42 billion ($312 million) in operating revenue in 2017, a significant increase compared to the previous year of ₩4.32 billion ($4.1 million). Its net profit was ₩534.90 billion ($501 million) in 2017, up sharply from ₩2.51 billion ($2.4 million) in the previous year.
In October of 2018, plastic surgeon and start-up investor Dr. Kim Byung Gun, bought a $352 million stake in Bithumb. He closed a deal through his BK Global Consortium to acquire 50% plus one share of BTC Holding Co.
Since its inception, the exchange has suffered several security breaches. In June 2018, around 35 billion Korean Won (around $31 million) was stolen from the exchange by hackers. Bithumb promptly offered to refund all affected users from its own reserves.
A year earlier, in 2017, a Bithumb employee's home PC was compromised giving hackers access to the personal information of 31,800 Bithumb users. The hack affected approximately 3% of all Bithumb customers as their usernames, their real names, mobile phone numbers, email addresses, and funds were exposed. A number of accounts were drained of their funds and it was estimated that around a billion Won was lost as a result. Again, Bithumb offered to pay damages.
From Sept to Dec 2018, the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Korea Internet & Security Agency, and the Ministry of Economy and Finance inspected 21 crypto exchanges across a range of 85 different aspects such as administrative, network, system and operational security, and database backup and wallet management. Bithumb was one of only seven exchanges that passed the inspection.Read More