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South Korean Billionaire Businessman Kim Jung-ju Passes away, Aged 54

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News has emerged that Kim Jung-ju, a prominent South Korean businessman, investor, philanthropist, and founder of Korea’s largest gaming company, Nexon, died on Monday at the age of 54, according to the Korean Herald.

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Reports, citing Nexon’s holding company NXC, disclosed on Tuesday evening that Jung-ju died in Hawaii, U.S., on February 28. He had been receiving treatments for depression, and it appeared that the symptoms had become worse recently. The firm stated the news without giving a cause for his death.

Owen Mahoney, the President and CEO of Nexon Co Ltd, paid condolences to Kim.

“It is difficult to express the tragedy of losing our friend and mentor Jay Kim, a man who had an immeasurably positive impact on the world. As a founder and visionary leader, Jay encouraged those around him to ignore the sceptics and trust their creative instincts. He will be deeply missed by his Nexon family and many friends,” Mahoney stated, using Kim’s English name.

Kim established Nexon in 1994 and launched ‘The Kingdom of the Winds,’ the world’s first multiplayer online role-playing game. Later, the firm published popular online games such as MapleStory, KartRider, Mabinogi, and Dungeon & Fighter.

The South Korean video game publishing firm became a public company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2011. Following the listing, Nexon became the first Korean gaming firm to surpass 1 trillion won ($830 million) in annual sales the year it went public. Currently, Nexon provides more than 50 live games on multiple platforms, including mobile and is available in more than 190 countries.

Rising Interest in Crypto

Besides being known as a popular line of online games, Nexon is also making steps into the crypto industry. As reported by Blockchain.News in early last year, Nexon had plans to acquire Bithumb, a major crypto exchange in South Korea, for an estimate of half a billion dollars. But the negotiations between the two firms fell apart.

In April last year, Nexon made a purchase of Bitcoin worth $100 million. The development added the South Korean-Japanese video game publisher to the ranks of companies such as MicroStrategy and Tesla that used corporate cash to load up on the flagship cryptocurrency. Nexon bought 1,717 Bitcoins at an average price of around $58,226, including fees and expenses.

The firm’s move followed other publicly listed companies, including Tesla and MicroStrategy, that are purchasing Bitcoin as a way for their investors to hedge against inflation.

During that time, Nexon CEO Mr. Owen Mahoney stated that the Bitcoin purchase “reflects a disciplined strategy for protecting shareholder value and for maintaining the purchasing power of our cash assets.”

The CEO further said that given the current economic environment, Nexon believes Bitcoin provides long-term liquidity and stability while also maintaining its cash value for future investments.

In December last year, Nexon started accepting cryptocurrency as payment from players who want to equip their characters with cash items alongside U.S. dollars. The company allows players to use Ethereum, Dogecoin, Bitcoin and other crypto-assets to purchase in-game items.

 

Image source: Yonhap

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