Binance Launches Its First Fiat-Crypto Exchange in Uganda

Major international crypto exchange Binance has announced that its fiat-to-crypto exchange will open in Uganda this week, the company reveals Monday, Oct. 15.

CEO and founder of Binance, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), had told Cointelegraph in an exclusive interview in June of plans to open the Ugandan crypto-fiat exchange.

As per Binance Uganda’s press release, the new branch will officially start accepting deposits and withdrawals of Ugandan shillings (UGX) Wednesday, Oct. 17. Binance Uganda notes that exchange has already begun its know-your-customer (KYC) procedures.

An additional press release reports that Uganda’s national fiat can only be traded with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), but that the exchange is planning to add more pairs soon.

A Cointelegraph analysis of cryptocurrency in Africa noted that although the Bank of Uganda issued a warning to investors about cryptocurrency risks in March 2017, the country’s government has showed interest in using blockchain technology.

Binance’s CFO Wei Zhou says that company’s first fiat-to-crypto exchange in Uganda will help maintain sustainable economic stability in Africa, noting that the company plans to bring “more innovations to the region.”  

As Cointelegraph previously reported, this year Binance has revealed plans to open several fiat-to-crypto exchanges.

In August, Binance LCX — a joint venture between Binance and Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX) — had announced plans to launch a fiat-to-crypto platform in Liechtenstein and offer trading between Swiss francs (CHF) and euros (EUR) against major digital currencies pairs. However, the exact date of the launch was not revealed.

Later in September, Binance had stated it will soon start private beta testing of a fiat-to-crypto exchange in Singapore, which will presumably support the Singapore dollar.

Binance is the largest international crypto exchange by 24-hour adjusted trading volume, seeing almost $1.8 billion in trades on the day to press time, according to CoinMarketCap.

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Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance Buys Ethereum Wallet Service in First-Ever Acquisition


Binance, one of the world’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has just completed its first-ever acquisition.

According to TechCrunch, the Malta-based exchange operator acquired Trust Wallet, creator of the eponymous mobile Ethereum wallet that includes support for ether, as well as ERC-20 and ERC-223 tokens. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Binance confirmed that it included a mixture of cash, Binance stock, and Binance tokens (BNB).

Trust Wallet is not one of the better known Ethereum wallets. It has about 50,000 downloads on Android through the Google Play store, earning a 4.6 out of 5 star rating from 1,138 reviewers. Download statistics were not immediately available from Apple’s App Store, but the wallet had a comparable rating from a similar number of reviewers. For comparison, imToken, the most popular Ethereum wallet, has more than 5 million monthly active users, most of whom are based in Asia.

“The Trust Wallet team shares the same values as us and the products are very complementary,” Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao told the publication. “For users who like to withdraw funds into a wallet now we have a product they can use.”

Zhao said that Trust Wallet will continue to operate independently, with Binance providing some administrative and marketing support and otherwise serving as a “godfather” to the wallet service.

By offloading those functions to Binance HQ, Trust Wallet’s development team will have more time to focus on its core product offering, perhaps hastening its planned support for other cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, EOS, and NEO.

The Trust Wallet acquisition comes as Binance is actively working on building a decentralized exchange (DEX), complete with its own public blockchain. Such platforms, which have also been announced by several other major exchanges, will allow users to trade cryptocurrencies without entrusting their funds to a centralized custodian and placing them at risk of hacks and exit scams.

Zhao said that Trust Wallet will serve as one of the Binance DEX’s default wallets, though it’s not clear when the platform will go live.

Binance’s centralized exchange currently ranks as the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency trading platform, with a daily volume of $1.3 billion. Only OKEx, which, like Binance, has created its own crypto token, opened an office in blockchain-friendly Malta, and unveiled plans to create a DEX, has processed more trading volume over the past 24 hours.

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Binance Will Face Tough Competition in South Korea in New Market Expansion


Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is planning an expansion into South Korea, the third biggest cryptocurrency market behind Japan and the US.

South Korea’s Unique Market Structure

In South Korea, two major digital asset trading platforms have had dominance over the crypto exchange market for several years. UPbit, an exchange created and developed by Dunamoo, a subsidiary of the country’s largest internet conglomerate Kakao, and Bithumb have had nearly 90 percent market share since 2017.

However, recent controversy surrounding Bithumb and the questionable decision of the exchange to continue to suspend deposits and withdrawals to this date, more than a month since its $40 million security breach in mid-June, led local investors to reconsider the dominance of Bithumb and migrate to alternative cryptocurrency exchanges.

UPbit is a tough competition for any exchange in the global market, because of its parent company. Dunamoo, which operates KakaoStock, the most widely utilized online stock brokerage app in the country, is directly controlled by Kakao, which oversees KakaoPay, KakaoStory, KakaoTaxi, and KakaoTalk, applications that have over 80 percent dominance over their respective markets.

On UPbit, due to the platform’s connection with Kakao, users can easily purchase and sell cryptocurrencies using KakaoPay, one of the two most popular payment applications in South Korea alongside Samsung Pay.

Despite the dominance Kakao has over the Internet, finance, fintech, and cryptocurrency sector of South Korea, 2018 would be an impeccable period for any foreign exchange to enter with the vision of evolving into a market leader because Bithumb, which previously was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea, drifted apart and has struggled to recover from its hacking attack.

The unapologetic actions of Bithumb, portrayed by its focus on expanding its trading platform to the UK without addressing its security and internal management issues on its main platform in South Korea, led investors to lose trust in the exchange, to the point in which many Bithumb investors submitted complaints to the South Korea Blockchain Association for approving Bithumb as an exchange equipped with adequate security measures.

If Binance enters the crypto market of South Korea within 2018, it will compete against Huobi, Gopax, Korbit, Coinone, Coinnest, and OKCoin Korea, to secure a dominant position in the local crypto exchange market to operate alongside UPbit.

All of the abovementioned exchanges are financially and strategically backed by some of the most influential conglomerates in South Korea. Gopax and Korbit for instance, are financed by Shinhan Bank and SKT, the country’s second biggest bank and the largest telecommunications corporation.

No Office Yet, But Soon

The government of South Korea is speeding the process of passing the first cryptocurrency and blockchain legislation, which will regulate crypto exchanges as regulated financial institutions.

Binance told CCN that its team is currently evaluating the policy around cryptocurrency businesses in South Korea, and will enter the market after the final decision is made by local financial authorities.

“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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Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean Market

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean Market

Exchanges

Binance is preparing to expand into South Korea, having already hired Koreans for some local positions. CEO Changpeng Zhao has stressed the importance of the Korean market, noting that some Koreans are already using Binance, especially to trade newer coins. However, the exchange is reportedly waiting for the country’s crypto regulatory framework to be fine-tuned before actually launching.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Binance Eyes South Korean Market

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketBinance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is eying the South Korean market for expansion, Business Korea reported Tuesday.

Quoting CEO Changpeng Zhao during his keynote speech at the Blockchain Partners Summit in Seoul on July 21 and 22, the publication elaborated:

He stressed the importance of the South Korean market, saying that his company would enrich its community in the market.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketThe company has “hired Koreans as a local marketing director and a Binance Lab director, which is a social impact fund,” the publication added.

Binance added the Korean language to its website in August last year. “Now, our customers from Korea can use our website in their native language,” the company wrote at the time.

The timing proved fortuitous as the following month the Chinese government shut down exchanges in China, forcing local traders to move to exchanges elsewhere including South Korea. Binance also moved its operations out of China at that time.

Competing with Korean Crypto Exchanges

According to reports, South Korea has about 100 crypto exchanges, 31 of which are members of the Korean Blockchain Industry Association. However, only four exchanges hold the majority of the market share of crypto trading in the country.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketBithumb and the Kakao-backed Upbit are the largest crypto exchanges in the country, although Upbit is an affiliate of the U.S. exchange Bittrex.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketAt the time of this writing, Coinmarketcap shows Upbit has a 24-hour trading volume of $780,019,012 while Bithumb has $601,046,530.

The other two large Korean exchanges are Coinone and Korbit. A few other Chinese crypto exchanges have tried to open in South Korea such as Huobi and Okcoin.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean Market
Changpeng Zhao.

“The number of South Korean Binance users is not that large yet. Still, it is one of the most favorite foreign cryptocurrency exchanges for South Korean traders,” Business Korea detailed. The Investor earlier this year wrote, “contrary to widespread speculation that Korean users account for a significant part of the Binance user-base, Zhao told reporters that they make up only about 1 percent and are the 10th largest group in terms of nationality.”

In an interview with Soso Lab this month, Zhao said the main reason Binance had gained popularity in South Korea was due to Korean exchanges listing only a limited number of coins. “If you want to trade newer coins then Binance is a good choice. We got lucky in that sense,” Zhao revealed. According to Coinmarketcap, Binance currently lists 376 coins while Upbit has 268 and Bithumb has 37. Zhao told the media outlet:

We do have a lot of users, what we call Binancians, in Korea…I think Korea is a hot market.

Korean Regulation Undergoing Changes

South Korea introduced crypto regulation at the end of last year. In January, the government implemented the real-name system for cryptocurrency trading.

Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean MarketBithumb, Upbit, Coinone, and Korbit have access to real-name accounts but the rest of the exchanges currently do not. This creates problems for the regulators who believe that without the real-name accounts, exchanges have to continue using corporate accounts to trade cryptocurrencies and these accounts are prone to money laundering.

Recently, the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), announced its plan to undergo a major restructuring including setting up a dedicated bureau for crypto policies. The government has also indicated that it will ease crypto regulation.

With the changing crypto regulatory environment in South Korea, the Investor reported Zhao saying earlier this year that Binance had postponed its plan to launch in Korea “until Seoul fine-tunes the regulatory framework.”

What do you think of Binance launching in South Korea? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Changpeng Zhao, and Binance.


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Binance Plans to Expand Into South Korea

Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is making plans to expand operations into South Korea, reports Business Korea.

Per the report, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao hinted at his company’s expansion plans while speaking at the Blockchain Partners Summit in Seoul last weekend.

While South Korea is presumed to be the third-largest crypto market after the U.S. and Japan, it hasn’t been a smooth ride for the cryptocurrency exchanges operating there. Bithumb and Coinrail were hacked earlier this year, while tax authorities have raided Coinone on tax evasion allegations.

Binance seems to be undeterred by all this, as it has been laying the groundwork for its expansion into South Korea for a while. Last year, the company added Korean language support to its site.

While there is no official data on the exchange’s user base in South Korea, its volume seems significant enough for the company as it has moved from language support into hiring top Korean executives to man critical roles in the country. Jeon Ah-rim and Choi Hyung-won were hired as local marketing manager and director of its social impact fund, Binance Lab, respectively.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily volume is always expanding as it seeks to achieve its goal of earning $1 billion in net profit in 2018. With an operational base in Hong Kong, the company has grown so fast that it has more users worldwide than Hong Kong has citizens.

The company, which started in Beijing, has been battling regulatory issues at every turn. It moved to Hong Kong right before cryptocurrency exchanges became illegal in September 2017. It has opened offices in Tokyo, the island of Jersey, Uganda and, more recently, Malta, where it seeks to “grow its operations” in a country that is friendly toward crypto businesses.

Binance’s expansion into South Korea comes at a time when lawmakers are seeking to fast-track crypto regulations and lift the ban on ICOs.

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