[THE INVESTOR] JEJU ISLAND -- US-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex on Sept. 14 said it will open a branch in Malta on Oct. 1, as part of its global expansion plans.
“We are now planning to launch Bittrex Malta,” Bill Shihara, co-founder and CEO of Bittrex, said at the Upbit Developer Conference on Jeju Island. “This will allow us to list tokens a lot faster.”
Bill Shihara, co-founder and CEO of Bittrex
He emphasized the coin listing process will be much easier and faster in Malta -- the European Union’s smallest state that is rising as the new cryptocurrency hub. It will also not charge fees for listing.
The Malta entry will be a boon for other global exchanges within the Bittrex network, including Dunamu’s Upbit in Korea, to introduce the coins faster on their respective exchanges, he said.
Upbit is one of the largest crypto exchanges in Korea. It launched services in October last year in partnership with Bittrex. The partnership allows the two exchanges to share the same order book and coin listings, among others.
Shihara, expressing great satisfaction with the tie-up, said he seeks to renew the partnership every year, without plans to open a separate Bittrex branch in Korea.
“We actually like this partnership model,” he told The Investor. “Working with the government in the US to stay compliant is hard. So it would be very difficult for us to open offices around the world in different countries to do that. If we can find great partners like Dunamu, then they can handle a lot of work with local regulations and banks. All we need to do is just help them make their exchanges better.”
Bittrex, which started offering US dollar trading in May, said it doesn’t have any plans to add other fiat currencies at the moment. “But we do plan to continue listing more digital currencies that trade against the US dollar.”
Despite the bearish cryptocurrency market, Shihara is pinning hopes on blockchain technology, just like the time he started the company in 2014.
“What blockchain seemed like to us (in 2014) was a foundation piece of technology that we thought a lot of applications can build on,” he said. “We still think today everything will be built on blockchain.”
Shihara, however, warned against increasing scams amid the declining market. “We see a lot of activities by criminals who are just trying to take money and value away from all legitimate projects and users.”
Despite the negatives, he spots a silver-lining. “There are a lot less people in the blockchain space now, and that is expected because the Bitcoin price is down,” he said. “This gives us time to really focus on engineering and delivering more value with our blockchain projects.”
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)