Business 16 July 2018

Gerald Fenech

South Korea’s Bithumb exchange eyes Japan, Thailand expansion

Bithumb, a cryptocurrency exchange based in South Korea, is reportedly looking to expand into the Japanese and Thai markets. According to reports, the crypto exchange is already working to obtain regulatory approvals from Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to set up an exchange in the country.

Bithumb is considered the second largest crypto exchange in South Korea, with a daily trading volume of an estimated $358 million. The only exchange that has greater daily volume in South Korea is Kakao-owned Upbit, which trades an estimated $582 million daily. Upbit, however, is well behind the Top 3 global major exchanges, including Binance and OKEx, which have a trading volume of well in excess of $1 billion daily.

It is interesting to note that Bithumb has already established a Thai subsidiary called Bithumb (Thailand) Company Limited, which has a registered capital of around THB3 million ($90,000). According to the news outlet Zdnet, the company’s main reason for expansion into the Thai market is because, “Thailand is active in e-commerce and the fintech industry, and the government is showing great interest in digital currency as it promotes smart city business.”

The regulatory framework in Thailand is also improving drastically since the country has finalized a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). According to reports, Bithumb has started building a Thai website, with plans to start local operations by the end of October.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the situation for Bithumb is slightly different. Cryptocurrency is legalized as a means of payment in 2017, and companies seeking to open a crypto exchange in Japan are required to secure an approval from financial regulator, Financial Services Agency (FSA). Recently, however, the FSA has tightened its oversight of crypto exchanges, imposing a much stricter exchange approval process.

Despite this, Bithumb is still seeking FSA approval with a plan to open an exchange in the country by February 2019, according to the news outlet. The crypto company is also looking to expand in the UK, Singapore and Indonesia. According to Money Today, Bithumb has already opened offices in the UK and Singapore.

Speaking to MoneyToday, Bithumb explained its policy for global expansion in the cryptocurrency exchange market: “Bithumb is preparing exchange platforms for countries under the global expansion plan and we are looking for great and potential partners (corporation, entity or group) worldwide…The exchange platforms under final development stages are USD / JYP / EUR / CNY / INR / GBP / AUD / CAD / PHP / RUB and [there] will be more soon when there are any service demands.”

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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