The Korean digital asset platform Bithumb exchange has officially received an operating license as it registers with the Financial Intelligence Unit. With this, South Korea gets four official crypto exchanges to operate digital currency in the country legally. It also includes cash-to-crypto services, newly introduced to the market.
After submitting the report, Bithumb had to wait for 75 days for the approval. On Nov 19, the company finally joined the other three major exchanges, Upbit, Coinone and Korbit, in the newly evolved crypto market.
According to industry insiders, the delay was linked to the ongoing trial of Lee Jung-hoon, the company’s major shareholder. Lee was accused of a fraudulent case.
Bithumb CEO Heo Back-young released a media statement regarding the license approval and official operations. It stated, “We thank our customers for their trust in Bithumb. We have successfully obtained the license. We have worked to refine our anti-money laundering protocols and internal control systems to bring them to a level comparable to this in the general financial sector.”
The statement also added that the company aims to introduce cryptocurrencies based on a strict listing process. At the same time, it also assured the investors of protecting their investment as a top priority.
On Mar 25, the Financial Services Commission had imposed two prerequisites to run a crypto platform within Korea. Crypto exchanges had to meet two requirements: (1) Obtain an Information Security Management System (ISMS) certification, (2) partner with a local bank through a real-name account.
While the first requirement aimed at protecting users’ personal information, the second requirement was to curb any fraudulent, money laundering or price manipulation cases in the digital asset economy.
Among 63 crypto exchanges platforms in the country, only the four central market pillars managed to meet the requirements before the deadline of Sept 23. At present, Upbit, Coinone, Korbit and now Bithumb are the only four crypto exchanges authorized to manage cash-to-crypto services.
After receiving the approval from FIU, Bithumb is said to have the potential to break the monopoly set by Upbit. Industry insiders have added that the impact of Bithumb’s crypto market entry has already begun. It was much needed in the economy to curb the dominance of Upbit.