Naver, a major South Korean internet company, has reportedly begun negotiations to buy a stake in the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb.
Naver has discussed the possibility of buying shares with major shareholders in Bithumb Vidente, Maeil Business reported Monday, citing several unnamed sources.
Naver is South Korea’s largest search and messaging engine provider, Line, and will expand the platform’s presence in the nation’s fintech market. The internet giant is said to be planning to add Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method to Naver Pay and Line Pay in Japan and the United States.
As reported, at least 10 companies have applied for a stake in Bithumb, including major US investment banks such as Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, payment giant Visa and the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance. Deutsche Bank is also among the potential investors, according to the Korea Times.
Bithumb has been the subject of numerous reports and rumors of a potential takeover deal in recent years. The South Korean crypto giant has been reported to be negotiating sales with foreign companies since at least 2019 due to the payment difficulties perceived in Bithumb’s previous purchase agreements. Games conglomerate Nexon denied reports of a stake purchase.