Bithumb recently had its audit report published in the Korean Financial Supervisory Services disclosure system and the information provided is enlightening.
Bithumb was said to be holding just shy of $6 billion in crypto at the end of 2017. Sure, prices have fluctuated since that time but still that is a lot of BTC and ETH. The Korea Times said that 7% of this amount was held by the Bithumb house account with the rest held by their customers.
Regarding operational profit, a different report said Bithumb reported a 534.8 billion won profit last year. That equates to about a mere half a billion dollars profit. This was more than a 200x increase over year prior.
All of this means that Bithumb is one of the largest securities firms in South Korea. Last year, Bithumb reportedly had just 100 employees. This year that number has risen dramatically to around 300 but the crypto-exchange is in the midst of a hiring binge and expects to have around 800 employees by the years end.
It is hard to argue with the economic benefit of so many additional jobs. The Korean government has struggled as to how best to manage the fanatical interest in investing in crypto. Meanwhile, an advocacy group has been created to help manage the burgeoning industry and to lobby on behalf of the exchanges needs. It has been reported that the Korean Blockchain Association is moving to incorporate a self regulatory review of the 14 Korean exchanges. Additionally, ICOs listed on exchanges must incorporate an internal rating system. An “ethics charter” or code of conduct is being created as well to help guide the actions of the nascent industry.