Editor’s Note (16:00 UTC): The article has been updated with a statement from Binance.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is reportedly planning to enter South Korea, one of the world’s major crypto trading markets.
According to a Business Korea report, Binance is already in the process of hiring executives in South Korea for these expansion plans. The report cites Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao’s presence as the keynote speaker at the Blockchain Partners Summit in Seoul over the weekend, wherein the billionaire founder of Binance underlined the importance of the South Korean market.
Just under a year ago, Binance added language support for Korean on its primary exchange portal. Last month, Binance announced its expansion into Africa with the launch of its first fiat-trading cryptocurrency exchange in Uganda.
Binance’s planned expansion into South Korea comes at a time when the country’s lawmakers are forwarding legislative bills to regulate the cryptocurrency sector and legalize initial coin offerings (ICOs) under supervision.
In September last year, South Korean financial regulators followed China’s lead in banning ICOs as a method of fundraising in the country. Earlier this year, Hong Eui-rak, a representative from the country’s ruling Democratic Party gained the support of other lawmakers in Parliament to introduce a bill pushing for the legalization of ICOs.
“The bill is aimed at legalizing ICOs under the government’s supervision[…],” Hong said at the time. “The primary goal (of the legislation is helping remove uncertainties facing blockchain-related businesses.”
In May this year, nearly eight months after the blanket ban, South Korea’s National Assembly made its own official recommendation to allow domestic ICOs I the country.
Binance’s Zhao had his own take on South Korea’s ongoing ICO ban:
"Any country who is pro-ICO can attract direct foreign investment. Any country that does not allow ICOs is missing out…big time." by @cz_binance @binance @chiliZ at the @BABI_Finance Blockchain Partners Summit in Seoul. @SilvioSchembri pic.twitter.com/LKm8hSF5kE
— Alexandre Dreyfus (@alex_dreyfus) July 23, 2018
Following a shifting of the guard at Korea’s primary financial regulator, authorities are also looking at relaxing cryptocurrency rules which will see the government regulate domestic cryptocurrency exchanges akin to traditional financial institutions.
As reported by CCN last week, the country’s financial regulator is also looking to establish a new policy-making body specifically centered on nurturing the domestic fintech industry with a focus on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Update: A representative for Binance told CCN in a statement:
“Currently we have no office in Korea and whether Binance will enter Korea in the future depends on progress in Korean policy.”
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