Dunamu is one the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, and now it looks like two of the company’s biggest shareholders – Song Chi-hyung and Kim Hyoung-nyon – have become the nation’s first two bitcoin billionaires.
While these individuals may not sound familiar, what they do for a living is likely to ring a bell with several pop culture fans. Chi-hyung is the founder and chairman of Hybe, the agency behind K-pop group BTS, while Hyoung-nyon is the company’s vice president. Together, they purchased a 2.5 percent stake in Dunamu. The stake cost approximately 500 billion won, which is equal to roughly $400 million in USD. This brought the valuation of the exchange up to roughly $17 billion at the time of the transaction.
As time went on, the percentage of Dunamu owned by Song shot up to about one quarter, while Kim is believed to own about 13 percent of the company. They are now the first crypto billionaires based in South Korea, with each person owning roughly $3.8 billion and $2 billion worth of company shares respectively. This is a massive boost from the $350 to $500 million they owned just a few years prior.
Dunamu is known for being the parent company of Up Bit, a cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea. The firm was valued at around $800 million last February, but things experienced a massive boost when Hanwha Investment & Securities bought Qualcomm’s entire six percent stake in the trading platform. The transaction was valued at around $50 million at the time, and from there, Dunamu raised an additional $85 million through venture capital businesses.
Oh Moon-suk, a partner with the tech firm Altos, said in an interview:
We believe Dunamu is a blue-chip way to invest in the crypto economy. Up Bit is the primary trading exchange in Korea that interacts with the crypto ecosystem and serves as one of the few crypto exchanges permitted to accept fiat currency… While the crypto ecosystem is still in an early phase of development and the adoption of cryptocurrencies as an asset class remains to be proven, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies as digital assets are increasingly gaining store-of-value credibility demonstrated by the growing number of institutional investor participation and increasing regulatory clarity.
Bringing Fans Closer to the Action
Now, Dunamu is working with Hybe to design and sell digital photo cards – or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – of the musicians of BTS. NFTs have exploded in popularity over the past 12 months and are now considered part of a billion-dollar industry. Bang Si-hyuk – an executive with Hybe – stated:
We are working with Dunamu to create a way to expand the fan experience. We will bring together the capabilities both companies have built up so far to introduce a new and exciting innovation to the global music and fintech industries.