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[2019 Crypto Exchange] Look for growth engines amid crypto winter

Securing new business models key to survival

  • Janice Yunji Kim
  • 2019-04-18 17:03:25
Every crypto exchange in Korea is struggling to survive the crypto winter that came in a flash. Some of them opted for the platform business from the belief that it would be impossible to make profits merely by offering transaction services; others seem to be focusing on overseas remittances and IEO (initial exchange offering) services. This Part 2 deals with exchanges striving to overcome the crypto winter and establish other business models besides transactions.

[2019 Crypto Exchange] Look for growth engines amid crypto winter



Bithumb active in expanding businesses at home and abroad

Bithumb is carrying out diverse businesses both at home and abroad. Domestically, Bithumb is pushing for the “Pickthumb” project, a voting system in which community users take part in voting for listing in person. The service is meaningful in that listing is not determined within exchanges but community users vote to decide on listing in person. The “Pickthumb” project has completed the third round so far.

There are other domestic projects. Bithumb released customized kiosks for unmanned stores. Branded “Touch B,” the kiosks have two types. One is “Smartcoin 2.0,” a self-service laundromat kiosk having a cloud-based data management system and the other is “K Machine,” a self-service coin singing room kiosk accommodating multiple-use tickets and reservation functions. Bithumb plans to expand its businesses in line with these specialized projects. “We have lots of projects to implement. We are devoting ourselves to developing kiosks befitting drugstores and study cafes. There are many other projects too,” a Bithumb official said.

Bithumb is also trying to expand its business fields abroad. Its premier focus abroad is on “security token offerings.” Bithumb, Korea’s biggest crypto exchange, has embarked on targeting the STO market in the United States with seriesOne. SeriesOne is a platform that obtained licenses from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States. SeriesOne is working on a platform for security tokens through the tokenization of unlisted shares while Bithumb, seriesOne’s technical partner, is providing solutions for security token transactions to secure liquidity.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bithumb is also creating an exchange where fiat currencies can be utilized in cooperation with Nvelop, an Abu Dhabi-based venture company. The UAE, which has announced its regulatory blueprint for cryptocurrency, is beginning to issue licenses for exchanges during the first half of this year to help create a crypto ecosystem. Bithumb capitalizes on this and is ready to launch cryptocurrency businesses in the Middle East in earnest.

[2019 Crypto Exchange] Look for growth engines amid crypto winter

Upbit eyes diverse projects, ranging from platform to cash receipt

Upbit is not focusing only on crypto projects necessarily either. Its subsidiary Lambda256 has released “Luniverse,” a consortium-based blockchain service platform, to promote the blockchain ecosystem. Lambda256 helps companies and developers apply blockchain technology to existing services more easily and swiftly through Luniverse. To support Luniverse partners, Lambda256 cooperates with Rootone Soft, Dunamu’s another subsidiary.

There are efforts to escape Korea. Upbit opened an exchange in Singapore last November and another in Indonesia in January. “We are currently preparing to launch new exchanges in Southeast Asia,” said an Upbit official, adding that “we put top priority on customers’ assets while ensuring internal stability. We will solidify our position as a blockchain-focused enterprise.”

As part of its differentiation strategies, Upbit announced plans to issue cash receipts for transaction fees for the first time in Korea’s crypto exchange space. Upbit claims that it will issue cash receipts for transaction and withdrawal fees occurring in the won-denominated market to provide customers with income tax deductions.

[2019 Crypto Exchange] Look for growth engines amid crypto winter

Coinone sets sights on overseas remittances

Korea’s major crypto exchange Coinone is also busy diversifying its businesses. “Coineone Node” and “Cross” are cases in point.

Coinone Node is a service in which Coineone takes charge of operating nodes of specific cryptocurrencies and returning rewards to members. Members contribute to stabilizing the blockchain system by taking part in the Proof of Stake through their mere possession of cryptocurrencies in Coinone. Of course, they can receive compensation. “We will add more projects suitable for Coinone nodes following Tezos and Cosmos,” a Coinone official said.

The most eye-catching project is “Cross,” an overseas remittance service Coinone’s subsidiary Coinone Transfer released late last year with SBI Ripple Asia. Cross offers real-time money transfer services using Ripple’s xCurrent with the aim of tackling expensive fees and slow transfer speed, endemic problems inherent in existing overseas remittance services. “Transfer time is different, depending on countries, but real-time transfer is possible mostly. This is a dramatic change, considering that it took 2 to 3 days in banks in terms of business days,” a Coinone spokesman said. “It’s also notable that overseas remittances are made possible cheaply, given that 60,000 to 70,000 won was normally needed to send one million won.”

More customers look for Coinone Transfer to send money cheaply. “Coineone Transfer made strides for 5 months after introducing xCurrent. Nearly 90% of customers having used remittance services in Thailand make revisits,” said Chung Eun-jeong, a team leader.

[2019 Crypto Exchange] Look for growth engines amid crypto winter

Huobi Korea releases prime service, riding on IEO boom

Huobi Korea launched the “Huobi Korea Prime,” aside from Huobi Global. It’s a program intended to sell tokens of blockchain projects to investors through Huobi Korea’s platform. This is a Korean version of Huobi Prime operated by Huobi Global. Tokens of “TOP Network,” Huobi Global’s first prime project, sold out within 7 seconds. “Cryptocurrencies sold through Huobi Prime are listed in the won-denominated market and markets for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Tether gradually after being listed on the Huobi Token (HT) market,” a Huobi official said.

Huobi Global is involved in a variety of businesses including mining service Huobi Mining Pool, telegram messenger Huobi Chat, digital asset storage Huobi Wallet, investment arm Huobi Capital and Huobi Global Ecosystem Fund. The company is doubling its efforts to make inroads into new areas in search of bigger profits, shying away from its initial focus on transaction fees. /yjk@decenter.kr


<저작권자 ⓒ 디센터, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지> XC
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