Global cryptocurrency exchanges are seeking to break into the South Korean market one after another following BitPoint, the third largest exchanges in Japan. They aim to expand an ecosystem by participating in the domestic market, which is the third largest in the world.
According to industry sources on Feb. 1, OKCoin reached a final agreement to attract an investment from NHN Entertainment Corp., a South Korean game company that was previously part of Naver, in order to enter the domestic market. Under the agreement, OKCoin will provide its own trading system and NHN Entertainment will operate a domestic server and respond to customers.
Established in 2013, OKCoin is the third largest digital currency exchange in China. After the Chinese government ordered to shut down all local crypto exchanges in October last year, OKCoin moved its server to other countries and has been providing services there, including Japan. It established a new subsidiary called OKCoin Korea in December planning to start a trading service in the domestic market.
What sets OKCoin apart from other exchanges is a wide variety of virtual currencies. OKCoin Korea is planning to offer more than 60 digital currencies to be traded against the Korean won, which is also the largest among global trading websites.
After OKCoin, China’s another cryptocurrency exchange Huobi is also preparing to join the domestic market by the end of the first quarter. It is planning to commence its business in South Korea within the first quarter this year.
A digital currency exchange jointly established by South Korea and China is about to make its debut in South Korea. Zeniex will launch its service by the end of this month.
France-based exchange Legolas, which has gone global on the 1st, said it is also giving positive consideration to launching its service in South Korea. Legolas has been working together with banks, insurance companies and experts from the beginning to set up the virtual currency exchange for instituational investors as its main target. It also has partnered with global brokerage Makor Capital. Legolas management will visit South Korea next month to announce its plans for the domestic market.
Although foreign exchanges are watching for an opportunity to tap into the South Korean crypto exchange market, market conditions are not so good. After a real-name registration system has been implemented for cryptocurrency trading from Jan. 30, six local banks has limited transactions to four major exchanges such as Bithumb and Upbit. Accordingly, Zeniex, a cryptocurrency exchange that had originally planned to launch its service at the end of Jan., said in a statement that the launch has been delayed until Feb.