Bithumb, South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, has reported that its profits rose by a factor of 171 in 2017, according to Coindesk Korea.
Bithumb handles around $200 million in daily trading volume. It is owned by BTCKorea, which is a public company traded at the Korea Exchange.
According to the report published on the website of the country’s financial regulator, Bithumb generated ₩427.1 billion (approx. $399.7 million) in net profit last year. The equivalent figure for 2016 was ₩2.5 billion ($2.3 million). This is growth of 171 percent.
The money was made through operating fees – the exchange takes 0.15 percent of every order.
In addition to this figure, ₩90 billion ($8.4 million) was generated from non-operating income. This term refers to sources of profit and loss outside of the main business, which could mean investments, property and asset sales, rent, interest income, etc. A Bithumb representative said in a statement: “It is difficult to give a concrete explanation as a financial statement before it is finalized at the shareholders’ meeting held on March 30. I will give a detailed explanation after publishing the financial statements in mid-April.”
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BTCKorea will release its own report within two weeks of that meeting.
The report mentions a broadcasting equipment manufacturer called Vident which has a 10.55 percent stake in BTCKorea. Vident itself is a company operating at a loss, but it can report that share as profitable.
The result is dramatic but not surprising given the popularity of the cryptocurrency industry in general and in South Korea in particular. Cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea alone made $648 million in profit in 2017, an increase of more than 8,000 percent compared to 2016.
Coinbase, the biggest American cryptocurrency exchange, reported $1 billion in (pre-tax) revenues in 2017, but the most remarkable rise is that of Binance.
Less than a year old, the cryptocurrency exchange from China is now the biggest in the world, handling $1.2 billion in daily trading volumes. It reported profits of $7.5 million within three months of opening, and $200 million in its second quarter of operation.