South Korean Upbit Crypto Exchange Expands Services Into Southeast Asia (Indonesia and Thailand)
Upbit Expands Its Reach to Offer Services In Southeast Asia
Modern capitalism demands incremental growth. Businesses understand this, thus are always looking for avenues to add more customers. What does one do when the local base has dried up? Why expand and look at other virgin markets. This is exactly what Upbit seems to be doing.
For the uninitiated, Upbit is one of the largest South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges. It is operated by Dunamu, an affiliate of Kakao Corp. which operates the popular chat app, Kakaotalk. Upbit is affiliated with Bittrex, its counterpart in the United States.
Recent news and advertising suggest that Thailand and Indonesia will soon be able to make use of the Asian exchange. This comes on the heels of the company's recent foray into the Singaporean market. Commenting on this rapid expansion, Dunamu CEO, Lee Seok-woo suggested this was all part of a planned expansion. “From the outset of the Upbit business, the company had a blueprint to become a global foreign exchange, not limited to the domestic market,” he told a news outlet.
All Is Quiet On the Home Front; A Little Too Quiet
According to sources, this expansion is more due to external factors than any long-term plans. It seems that the company is having issues with adding new members due to regulations in Korea. Since the start of this year, they have not been able to issue a new real-name account and thus plans were put int place to step up its overseas expansion The South Korean government had implemented the real-name system in January. Many banks have since been reluctant to provide this service to crypto exchanges.
The frustrated CEO was quoted saying:
“I am in a desperate situation which I can lose a great opportunity if I miss this period.” He further lamented “the situation in Korea is not good due to various regulations, If we wait for the domestic trading environment to improve, we will be left behind in the global market.”
What Is The Plan Of Expansion
Upbit officially launched an exchange in Singapore that supported the Singapore dollar. The company will follow a similar modus operandi for the new exchanges and lend support to both the Baht and Rupiah. The exchange seems have gone all guns blazing and is aggressively marketing its upcoming presence, in the local languages, as per local media. The company has also set up websites for each exchange. A spokesperson for Upbit was upbeat about the impending launches and said
“Both countries appreciate the growth potential of the cryptocurrency industry. Thailand and Indonesia are very interested in blockchain and cryptocurrency, so we thought it would be a good thing to have an online presence before launch.”
The new website for the Thai Upbit project welcomes users and tells them to “Prepare to meet Upbit Thailand soon”. The site also notes that at the moment it is in “closed beta” phase and only available to a few early registrants. The exchange promises to make available a list of 131 coins and 241 trading pairs. While the Thai government had only enacted regulations less than 6 months ago, it already has a number of applicants hoping to be able to operate in the country. As of now, the central bank has been supporting and suggesting banks in relation to creating subsidiaries for cryptocurrency activities.
Upbit’s Indonesian branch seems a bit more basic when compared to their counterpart across the Malacca Strait. This site, though, will have support for more coins and trading pairs. Again, like Thailand, the government in Indonesia has only recently become active about cryptos. In June this year, they set up a supervisory body and has already started to regulate cryptocurrencies as commodities.
Whatever might be the reason forcing this large exchange to focus on overseas markets, the expansion seems like a blessing. Having access to a stable and renowned platform will boost the consumer confidence in these budding markets. Furthermore, the boost in confidence should have a cyclic effect on the industry as a whole and buoy the cryptosphere in the region.