South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb plans to open new offices in Japan and Thailand, CCN has reported, citing the local press.
According to a ZDNet Korea report published Tuesday, Bithumb is currently awaiting approvals from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) and Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Bithumb said that it had chosen Thailand because of its very active e-commerce and fintech sector. In addition, the Thai regulators have demonstrated are open to cryptocurrencies, which contributes to creating a crypto-friendly environment in the country. Bithumb indicated that it could enter the Thai market as early as October.
In Japan, the company is poised to face completely different environment, as the local authorities have ramped up their efforts to regulate the sector following the high-profile hack of the Coincheck crypto exchange in January. Since then, the FSA has conducted a series of probes into local exchange operators and issued a number of business improvement orders and suspensions. The latest wave of punitive measures by the financial watchdog came less than a month ago and affected some of Japan’s largest crypto exchanges, such as BitFlyer and Bitbank. Also in June, the watchdog issued its first rejection of a cryptocurrency exchange application.
Given that Bithumb was targeted by hackers last month, the company will most likely be closely watched by the regulator. However, the company is optimistic that its application will be accepted and that it would be able to launch its Japanese office in February 2019. What’s more, the exchange already plans to expand its business further and is looking for new global partners.
Despite the increased regulatory pressure, being one of the largest crypto markets, Japan remains very attractive to crypto exchange operators. Earlier this year, the FSA recently that following the Coincheck hack, eight platforms had indicated that they would withdraw their applications. However, the watchdog added that about 100 firms were looking to enter the market.