[THE INVESTOR] Dunamu, operator of Korea’s leading cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, on Sept. 19 said it plans to open a new exchange in Singapore in October.
The firm set up a new office Upbit Singapore in February and has been preparing for the launch.
Alex Kim, who previously served as the head of Kakao Indonesia and managing director of Path -- which was bought by Kakao -- will lead the new exchange.
The firm picked Singapore as its first overseas destination, citing the city-state’s strong support for blockchain and related technologies. Upbit plans to enter more countries in a bid to take an upper hand in the budding industry.
“We don’t want to lose out on the opportunities now,” Dunamu CEO Lee Sir-goo told reporters last week at the Upbit Developers Conference held on Jeju Island. “If we wait until the Korean crypto exchange environment improves, we could lag behind our global competitors.”
The Upbit Singapore will be serviced in English and offer Singapore dollar trading. It will also support crypto-to-crypto pairs, including Upbit’s US partner Bittrex’s Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tether market.
“In the future we would like to add other fiat currencies and expand in other countries in Southeast Asia,” said Lee, adding that Upbit will continue to strengthen its partnership with Bittrex as it makes a foray into global markets.
At the conference, Lee also reiterated that Upbit is not creating its own cryptocurrency, unlike its Chinese rivals like Binance or Huobi.
“When we open an exchange in a country that nurtures blockchain industry, we get a chance to lead related projects,” said Kim. “It will mark an important beginning to diversify the blockchain industry and obtain global competitiveness.”
Upbit’s Singapore debut comes at a time when tech firms and local exchanges are joining the race to set up new exchanges in the region.
Line, the Japanese subsidiary of Korean internet giant Naver, opened its new exchange BitBox in Singapore in July, while local exchange Coinone launched operations in Indonesia last month .
As part of the launching promotion, users who complete their subscription and self-certification will be able to trade without fees for a month in the Singapore dollar market. In addition, users who make a deposit of SG$500 (US$364.77) and maintain the balance will get an airdrop of 500,000 ICX.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)