Business 18 October 2018

Erik Gibbs

BTCC plans to expand into South Korea by November

The first cryptocurrency exchange to have launched in China is on the move. BTCC, previously known as BTC China, is preparing to expand into South Korea, according to a report in The Investor.

The exchange anticipates offering beta services by the end of October and will then make an official launch sometime in November. The BTCC website indicates that its South Korean operations will include a trading platform, a mining pool, a wallet service and even a consumer payments platform. The company adds, “BTCC is establishing an on/offline payment system using cryptocurrency… [and is] is expanding services for real-life use.”

In Hong Kong, where BTCC is now headquartered, investors are able to trade in five cryptocurrencies against the U.S. dollar. These include Bitcoin BCH, as well as BTC, ETH, LTC, and DASH. There was no word if the same digital currencies will be supported on the South Korean exchange.

According to the new BTCC Korea CEO, Lee Jae-bum, “Cryptocurrency exchanges are facing a turning point due to a downturn in local exchanges while global exchanges are making a leap here. BTCC Korea will be able to present a new strategy and vision of crypto exchanges.”

BTC China has been around since 2011. It was previously one of the top-ranked exchanges in the country until regulators and China’s central bank began to crack down on crypto operations. The exchange closed its doors in September of last year, but started to see new life this past January after it was purchased by a blockchain investment fund out of Hong Kong. Along with the purchase came a rebranding to BTCC, a new mining pool and the Mobi cryptocurrency wallet. Its trading platform cranked back up this past July.

The expansion into South Korea comes at a time when regulators are tightening the screws on the cryptocurrency industry. Several high-profile exchange hacks, coupled with allegations of fraud, have led authorities to take a strong position against crypto. However, lawmakers are now working to provide better oversight and are prepared to define cryptocurrency exchanges as “crypto asset exchanges and brokerages.” This will “recognize [them] as regulated financial institutions,” instead of as “communication vendors,” their former classification.

In November, South Korean regulators are also expected to deliver their decision on the initial coin offering (ICO) space. ICOs have been banned since September 2017, but that ban could be lifted next month.

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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