Report: Reverse Merger Could Take Bithumb Crypto Exchange Public in the U.S.

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Singapore-based holding firm Blockchain Exchange Alliance, which has a controlling stake in major crypto exchange Bithumb, is looking to list in the United States by acquiring a publicly traded company in the country, CNBC reports on Jan. 22.

According to CNBC, a publicly-traded holding company called Blockchain Industries announced that it had a binding letter of intent with Blockchain Exchange Alliance. Acquiring a publicly-traded company, or a so-called reverse merger, can be a faster way to take a company public than a traditional Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Should the reverse merger prove successful, this would reportedly be the first instance of a cryptocurrency exchange going public.

An unnamed source told CNBC that Blockchain Exchange Alliance had considered filing for a public offering in Singapore, but did not want to wait up to two years to complete an IPO. The sources added that the combined company will eventually “up-list” from over-the-counter (OTC) markets to the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq.

Mike Novogratz, an ex-hedge fund manager at Fortress Investment Group and well-known crypto bull, also used a reverse merger to list his crypto investment bank on the Canadian stock market in 2018.

Novogratz bought a crypto start-up called Coin Capital, then merged through a reverse takeover with Canadian shell company Bradmer Pharmaceuticals. The company was subsequently renamed and trades on the TSX Venture Exchange as Galaxy Digital Holdings.

Bithumb was recently the target of some controversy when it denied allegations that it faked trade volume. Cryptocurrency exchange ratings and analytics service CER has accused Bithumb of faking up to 94 percent of its trade volume since the late summer of 2018.

In response to the accusations, Bithumb reportedly said, «Bithumb is doing nothing to inflate trade volume. Bithumb is not selling mining-based coin. Bithumb is trying to get more customers by providing various promotions just like any other company in the world as a normal business.»