South Korea’s digital currency exchange Upbit is expanding to Thailand. The exchange confirmed that it has obtained four provisional licenses from the country’s regulator to operate digital currency-related businesses.
Upbit revealed in a press release shared with CoinGeek that it had obtained the licenses from the Thai Securities and Exchanges Commission. The four licenses will allow Upbit Thailand to offer services in four categories: digital token exchange, digital token broker, digital currency broker and digital currency exchange. Upbit has become the first exchange to obtain all four licenses in Thailand.
The licenses will give Upbit a significant edge over its competition in the rapidly growing Thai market, Peeradej Tanruangporn believes. In an interview with CoinGeek, he explained why it was imperative to gain all four licenses:
“In Thailand, there are separate licenses for exchange and brokerage businesses. An exchange license allows a business to do order matching. A brokerage license allows operators to take a customer’s order to another exchange for order matching. When digital asset operators explain their business models to the regulator, the regulator gives recommendations on which licenses are needed. In Upbit Thailand’s case, the services we are planning to provide are so broad that we needed all four licenses.”
Upbit has been targeting the lucrative Thai market for some time now. The Southeast Asian nation has seen rapid growth of its digital currency industry in the recent years. However, despite the growth, only six exchanges had been approved to operate in the country.
Tanruangporn believes that the Thai government’s approach to digital currencies has played a key part in fostering the growth of the industry.
He told CoinGeek, “Thailand’s government has shown a strong commitment to growing the blockchain and fintech sectors and there’s also strong public demand for innovative digital asset-related services.”
By establishing a clear regulatory framework for the industry, the government has allowed operators like Upbit to “operate with a clear understanding of which digital asset businesses we can pursue from the start.”
The exchange’s Thai operation will be a joint venture between Upbit APAC Pte. Ltd. and local partners. They include Chatchaval Jiaravanon, the Thai billionaire who owns Fortune Magazine. Jiaravanon also runs Lightnet, a Bangkok-based startup offering digital currency remittance services. The startup raised $31.2 million in January this year with an ambitious target of $50 billion worth of transactions annually.
On whether Upbit will partner with Lightnet, Tanruangporn remarked, “Nothing is finalized yet but we’re excited to see what we can work out.”
Upbit has yet to finalize the trading pairs that will be available once the exchange begins operations.
In South Korea, Upbit has seen an uptick in trading volume this year. While the exchange has been working on new listings, its focus has been on compliance, with Tanruangporn telling CoinGeek:
“For our business in South Korea, Upbit’s top priority is being compliant with soon-to-be-implemented local digital asset regulations, and our new enhanced AML system is a huge part of that effort.”
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