Bithumb set to break Upbit’s monopoly

According to the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU), its committee for the screening of virtual asset service providers gave its approval last Friday on Bithumb's application, submitted Sept. 9.

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Bithumb, a virtual asset exchange, provides a virtual asset deposit service. Users who are not familiar with virtual asset trading can stably make profits with this service.
Bithumb, a virtual asset exchange, provides a virtual asset deposit service.

The financial authorities have taken measures for Bithumb to prevent Upbit from solidifying its monopolistic status on the local market, by allowing the nation’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange to enable its users to exchange their cryptocurrencies for the Korean won.

According to the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU), its committee for the screening of virtual asset service providers gave its approval last Friday on Bithumb’s application, submitted Sept. 9.

As a result, Bithumb became the latest cryptocurrency exchange to enable Korean won-based transactions, among the nation’s four largest cryptocurrency exchanges that have been provided with real-name accounts from domestic commercial banks.

In Korea, cryptocurrency exchanges that are not provided with real-name accounts from domestic commercial banks restrict users to exchanging their cryptocurrencies for different types of cryptocurrencies.

“We will continue to make efforts to protect investors and improve our customer service, so that Bithumb can be the nation’s leading cryptocurrency exchange,” a Bithumb official said.

The screening of Bithumb took longer than those of Upbit, Korbit and Coinone.

Dunamu, the operator of Upbit, which submitted its application on Aug. 20, won approval Sept. 17. Korbit and Coinone, both of which submitted their applications on Sept. 10, won their approvals on Oct. 1 and Nov. 12, respectively.

When Coinone won its approval earlier this month, financial authorities said that they needed more time to screen Bithumb, so observers speculated that the ongoing lawsuit involving Lee Jung hoon, who is regarded as Bithumb’s de facto owner, obstructed the approval the latter’s application.

The situation also raised concerns among market insiders as well as lawmakers about the possibility of Upbit’s continuing monopoly of the domestic market, given that Korbit and Coinone do not have enough users to reduce Upbit’s market share, which reached 88 percent as of September.

박재혁(2021.11.22) Bithumb set to break Upbit’s monopoly
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