Business 13 February 2019

Ed Drake

Bithumb to launch new crypto exchange in UAE

South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb is to launch a new exchange in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following a partnership with blockchain VC firm Nvelop, The Financial News reported.

The exchange has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Abu Dhabi-based company to develop the UAE facing service, which will become a key part of Bithumb’s focus on expansion throughout the Middle East.

Nvelop is itself a joint venture, owned by local investment fund E11 and Taiwan-based Trill Ventures Group, created to fund investments in the blockchain space in Africa and the Middle East.

The partnership with Bithumb will enable Nvelop to benefit from the scale and expertise of the exchange, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, with a global standing in the crypto exchange sector.

The Middle East is regarded as an underdeveloped region for cryptocurrency, with opportunities in the UAE and beyond. According to Bithumb, the decision to partner with Nvelop would help them establish a foothold within the region, as the company continues to build its global operation.

“The partnership with Nvelop will enable us to build a foothold in the Middle East as a global exchange. This year, we will diversify into a company centered on overseas business,” the exchange stated.

The move comes at a time of increasing diversification from cryptocurrency exchanges, with many in the sector turning towards global expansion amidst challenging trading conditions.

With cryptocurrency markets still trading heavily down since the highs of 2017, many crypto companies are being forced to consider alternative growth strategies, resulting in a greater focus on product development and consolidation in recent months.

Rival exchange Binance also announced expansionary moves in recent weeks, with the announcement it was to open Binance Jersey as a base for serving markets in Europe.

In the last week, Bithumb unveiled its latest product for high-volume investors with its new OTC platform. With the move towards the UAE, Bithumb is hoping to build on this momentum by offering greater access to a global base of cryptocurrency investors and users.

The hope is that the partnership will position Bithumb at the forefront of emerging crypto markets in the Middle East region. 

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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