The information of the four major cryptocurrency exchange have been released to the corporate information inquiry platform(i.e. DART). Blockmedia analyzed the organizational structure of the exchanges based on the released public information.

Bithumb Korea released their audit report to the DART system on the 6th; according to the report, the leading shareholders of Bithumb Korea are ▲Bithumb Holdings, ▲Vidente, ▲Omnitel, and several others. Bithumb holdings, of course, held the majority of the stocks. It has 74.10% while Vidente has 10.29%, Omnitel 8.23% and others 7.38% altogether.

From the surface it may seem the top shareholder, Bithumb Holdings (CEO ByeongJu Park) controls the management, however, that’s not exactly the case. This is due to the company’s complicated organizational structure in regards to the stocks owned by Vidente, BTHMBHoldings, DAA, etc.

First of all, the 10.7% of Bithumb Holdings is owned by Singapore-based company BTHMBHoldings. Within the C-level management of BTHMBHoldings is the vice-president of Vidente SeongHwan Hwang who joined the company when the BXA tokens were created. Another company called DAA owns 30% of Bithumb Holdings and DAA is being managed by the CEO SangJoon Lee who used to be the CEO of Bithumb Holdings. Vidente, led by the CEO JaeWook Kim, owns 34.24% of Bithumb Holdings, making it the top shareholder. The rest owns 25.06%.

Vidente claims that “through acquiring the additional Bithumb Holdings’ stocks, we classified it as affiliated investment since we now have a significant influence.” Vidente bought a total of 2324 stocks, which were originally designated to be obtained by BTHMBHoldings, increasing its total share from 9.5% to 34.24%.

On the surface, the organizational chart of Bithumb seems to be:▲Bitgalaxia → Bucket Studio → BTOne → Vidente ▲Vidente → Bucket Studio ▲Bitgalaxia → Vidente. Within this circular structure, the CEO JaeWook Kim takes the center, making it to the top of the chart.

Owned by Mr. Kim, Vidente’s main business is to develop, manufacture and sell HD digital broadcast displays. Behind Vidente, there’s a shoes wholesaler company called BTOne. BTOne is the top shareholder of Vidente as it owns about 18.00%. Vidente says it will “add blockchain-based IT service industry and e-commerce finance business to its business objectives, and focus on discovering new frontier businesses for the 4th industrial revolution, in order to diversify the business.”

Mr. Kim also manages BTOne. He not only manages Bucket Studio which owns 22.52% of BTOne, but also owns 41.05% of Bitgalaxia which is the top shareholder of Bucket Studio.

The main contender of Mr. Kim is the Bithumb Holdings advisor JeongHoon Lee. In the past, Vidente filed a lawsuit against Mr. Lee due to Bithumb Holdings’ concealment of almost 80 billion Korean won in taxes in the process of buying the stocks; the company asked Mr. Lee to cancel the contract and return the investment. Vidente later dropped the law suit, claiming that they have reached an agreement. According to the public statement report, Mr. Lee is to give up to 12.5 billion Korean won to Vidente. If the tax-cut if confirmed in the case of legal response against the Korean IRS, the amount to be compensated by Mr. Lee will also be reduced according to the agreement reached by both parties.

Although Vidente owns 34.24% of Bithumb Holdings, it is not the top shareholder. The company DAA owns 51.83% of BTHMBHoldings, which then boasts about 40.7% of Bithumb Holdings. This eventually makes BTHMBHoldings’ share almost 40.7%, which is 6.46% higher than that of Vidente.

Behind BTHMBHoldings, we have SG Brain Technology Consulting (formerly BK SG). The advisor Mr. Lee and CEO ByeongGun Kim hold 49.997% and 49.991% respectively. Consequently, they end up owning almost 40.7% of Bithumb Holdings.

Within such complex structure, BTOne seems to be the key to controlling Bithumb Holdings. Mr. Kim is the major shareholder of BTOne, however, not all voting rights are his. Bithumb Holdings has 21.9% of BTOne, similar to that of Bitgalaxia (about 22.52%); and there’s also Omnitel with 6.08%. Therefore the directional influence of Bithumb Holdings by Vidente is decided according to how BTOne’s board of directors is composed of, subsequently making it hard to determine the actual owner of Bithumb Korea.

The influence of Omnitel’s CEO SangWoo Kim cannot be overlooked. The company owns 6.08% of BTOne including 8.23% of Bithumb Korea. Though much less than the CEO and the advisor, he still holds the key to the “casting vote” which can overturn the governance.

The fight for management of Bithumb will intensify as Bithumb Holdings advisor Mr. Lee and Vidente CEO Mr. Kim are suing each other for the management rights of BTOne. Bithumb Holdings filed a lawsuit to BTOne in regards to ‘misconduct of the CEO and dismissal of the director from the CEO position,’ however, it was dismissed on the 23rd. Similarly, Bucket Studio (Mr. JaeWook Kim) also sued Bithumb Holdings and BTOne to “delegate all voting rights to Bucket Studio and do not exercise the rights otherwise,” however, it was dismissed on the 27th.


빗썸의 최종 지배구조 / 사진=김진배 기자