Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX May Buy South Korean Crypto Exchange Bithumb: Report – Decrypt

This crypto winter, rumors of FTX rescuing or acquiring struggling crypto companies have proliferated—and now South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb is said to be on FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s shopping list.

According to a report from Bloomberg, FTX is in late-stage talks to potentially acquire Bithumb, which has over 8 million registered users. The conversations have reportedly been in progress for “several months.”

When asked to confirm or deny the report, an FTX representative told Decrypt “no comment.” Bithumb has not yet responded to Decrypt’s request for comment.

Despite seeing over $1 trillion in total volume traded on its exchange, Bithumb has struggled on and off over the years. Back in 2020, Bithumb faced a number of lawsuits and Huobi was reportedly looking to acquire it, but never did. 

Last month, FTX acquired the Canadian crypto exchange Bitvo. In a statement, Bankman-Fried said the purchase was made “to expand FTX’s global reach.”

“Our expansion into Canada is another step in proactively working with cryptocurrency regulators in different geographies across the globe,” Bankman-Fried added.

FTX is also in the process of buying troubled lender BlockFi in a $680 million credit and acquisition deal. 

And in June, rumors swirled that FTX was also in talks to acquire trading platform Robinhood, who laid off 9% of its staff back in April due to slowed growth.  Bankman-Fried has since denied the reports.

That said, it makes sense that FTX may be looking to acquire crypto companies at a discount during this bear market. Bankman-Fried said earlier this month that FTX still has “a few billion” that could be deployed to stabilize other crypto companies. In theory, those funds could also be used to outright buy them.

While it’s unclear whether Bankman-Fried’s exchange will actually acquire Bithumb, FTX is clearly working to fulfill what it believes is its “responsibility” to stabilize the crypto industry at large in this time of turmoil.

In the wake of the Celsius and Voyager Digital bankruptcy filings, startled retail investors have been unable to access or withdraw their funds.

In response, Bankman-Fried said Friday that he is “happy to do what we can” to help out Voyager’s customers by providing liquidity to the insolvent firm.

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