In just four months, Song’s Upbit has become the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, one of the biggest markets for Bitcoin trading. In December it boasted an average daily trading volume of $4.7 billion, hitting as high as $11 billion in a day.
The Ultra-Rich Korean Entrepreneur Behind One Of Crypto’s Most Popular Exchanges
CEO, Dunamu; founder, Upbit
Crypto Net Worth: $350 million-$500 million*
In just three months since launching, Song Chi-Hyung’s Upbit has become the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, a market that ranks among the top three in Bitcoin trading. Through its holding company Dunamu, in October Upbit secured funding from internet giant Kakao Corp. and partnered with U.S.-based Bittrex to trade what is now a total of 120 tokens from 214 markets.
By December it boasted an average daily trading volume of $4.7 billion and hit as high as $11 billion in just one day.
Founded by Song in 2012, Dunamu, which means two trees, started as a news aggregator but quickly pivoted to fintech. It attracted Kakao in 2013, when it won $187,000 in backing from its holding company K Cube Ventures and then $3.8 million directly from the firm two years later.
The alliance led to the creation of KakaoStock, a mobile stock trading app which now has more than 300,000 users and leverages Kakao’s instant messaging base of 50 million.
A graduate of the prestigious Seoul National University, Song, 38, obtained his Bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics. He withdrew plans for an MBA during the late 1990s on the heels of a massive upgrade in Korea’s internet infrastructure and landed his first tech job at an IT firm.