China’s Largest Bitcoin Exchange Heads to Japan and South Korea With Major Bank Deal

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Huobi, formerly the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the Chinese market prior to the cryptocurrency trading ban imposed by the local government, is reallocating to Japan, the second largest cryptocurrency market in the world.

Huobi Will Move to Japan and South Korea

In late 2017, China’s three major cryptocurrency trading platforms Huobi, OKCoin, and BTCC officially migrated to the Hong Kong bitcoin market, operating over-the-counter (OTC) platforms to address the demand for cryptocurrencies from individual investors in Asia.

Huobi, which rebranded to Huobi Pro to operate in Hong Kong, has started to process large volumes once again along with OKCoin’s Hong Kong exchange OKEx. It also has secured a strategic partnership with SBI Group, one of Japan’s largest financial institutions, to launch a large-scale cryptocurrency trading platform in Japan and South Korea.

“SBI Holdings has reached a basic agreement with Huobi Group (1.65 million accounts, maximum daily transaction volume of over CNY 30 billion (approximately JPY 510 billion), which has a track record of stably operating a major cryptocurrency exchange in China, to explore the following alliances,” the official statement released by SBI Holdings on December 7 read.

The official partnership document further revealed that SBI Group had acquired 30 percent of equity in Huobi’s Japanese venture Huobi Technology Japan Co., Ltd.

“SBI Group’s acquisition of 30% of equity in Huobi Group’s Japanese entity (Huobi Technology Japan Co., Ltd.) and 10% of equity in Huobi Group’s Korean entity (HUOBI CO., Ltd). Huobi Group’s acquisition of 30% of equity in SBI Virtual Currencies, a subsidiary of SBI Holdings.”

The partnership between SBI Holdings and Huobi is particularly noteworthy, as that would prevent any potential conflict between the traders on the Huobi platform and Japanese banks. SBI Holdings is expected to provide the Huobi trading platform with virtual bank accounts and robust banking infrastructure.

The backing of a major financial institution will also significantly help Huobi penetrate into the South Korean cryptocurrency market, given that Japanese and South Korean banks are already collaborating on several cryptocurrency-related projects.

Major Markets in the Making

According to CryptoCompare, the Japanese and South Korean cryptocurrency markets account for 40 percent of global bitcoin trades and 10 percent of global Ethereum trades. Cryptocurrency exchanges in the two regions have millions of active traders, despite the implementation of strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems that render the user verification process extremely inconvenient and inefficient.

The entrance of major cryptocurrency exchanges like Huobi will better structure the Japanese and South Korean cryptocurrency exchange markets that are dominated by a handful of exchanges.

More importantly, when China accounted for the majority of bitcoin trades in 2016, Huobi processed more trading volumes on a daily basis than any other trading platform in the global market. As such, Huobi will likely be able to provide a trading platform that can address the demand for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies from high profile traders and institutional investors.

CCN previously reported that bitcoin has begun to boost the GDP of the Japanese economy, as Nomura economists Yoshiyuki Simon and Kazuki Miyamoto explained:

“We estimate the wealth effect from unrealized gains on bitcoin trading by Japanese investors since the start of fiscal year 2017, and estimate a potential boost to consumer spending of 23.2-96.0 billion yen.”

The emergence of large-scale cryptocurrency exchanges will lead to an exponential growth rate of local cryptocurrency markets in both Japan and South Korea.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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