Upbit, a leading cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, intends to expand its operations internationally, especially in Southeast Asian countries.
Sirgoo Lee, CEO of Upbit operator Dunamu, announced the digital currency's potential growth plans. “We're trying to expand internationally,” Lee said. “We did open a store in Southeast Asia, and we are extending our exchanges there.”
Indeed, Upbit began operations in Thailand earlier this year after receiving four cryptocurrency-related operating licenses from the country's regulators.
It came as an opportune moment for the market, as the largest Thai crypto exchange, which controls roughly 97% of the local market, was facing a regulatory backlash as well as technological difficulties.
Upbit first joined the field in 2018 with services in Singapore, then expanding to Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, in early 2019. Although the CEO announced the expansion plans, the details are obvious.
The exchange may have ambitions to join the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi) space, as Lee said that the company is looking into "various possibilities" without going into specifics.
Upbit is one of the top four South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges, but it's not without controversy. In November 2019, the exchange was jeopardized, resulting in the stealing of Ether, which was worth about $50 million at the time. However, after the hack, Upbit upgraded its security features.
Furthermore, Korean officials seized the exchange on suspicion of trading digital currency that it did not even own. Those costs, however, have no bearing on the trade.
Hanwha Group's trading arm, Hanwha Investment, and Securities acquired a minority interest in Upbit earlier this year for approximately $52.24 million.