Korean Messaging App KakaoTalk Launching Cryptocurrency Exchange
Companies of all kinds are looking to get in on the cryptocurrency exchange: retailers are increasingly accepting digital token payments for their goods or even launching their own cryptocurrencies. Now, South Korea’s largest instant messaging platform is looking to start a new cryptocurrency exchange. An affiliate company of Kakao will start Upbit, an exchange with support for more than 100 digital currencies.
Upbit to be the Largest Virtual Currency Exchange in the Country
Dunamu, the South Korean fintech company which operates the social trading app Kakao Stock, has recently accounced plans to launch the Upbit project, according to CryptoCoinsNews. Dunamu is an affiliate of Kakao Corporation, which oversees the popular messaging app KakaoTalk as well as the stock trading Kakao Stock. KakaoTalk is used by a whopping 93% of South Korea’s population.
Upbit will begin as a beta launch starting in October thanks to a partnership with the U.S.-based digital currency exchange called Bittrex. Through the partnership, Upbit will enable users to trade certain cryptocurrencies which are found elsewhere in the world but not in preexisting South Korean exchanges. By comparison, Bithumb, currently Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by measure of trading volume, offers support for just seven cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin and Other Major Coins to Start
Korea Joongang Daily reports that “during the initial stage of the service, Upbit will mainly handle bitcoin and other major alternative coins such as ethereum, ripple and litecoin with trading volume exceeding a certain amount. The platform’s ultimate goal is to enable the trading of 111 different tokens from 167 different markets.”
Upbit users will be offered BitGo wallets to use alongside KakaoPay’s multi-factor authentication in order to provide account security. Dunamu has also suggested that Upbit users will find integration between the service and a number of other Kakao apps. “By offering more platforms for transactions, Upbit says it aims to make cryptocurrency trading as easy as mobile trading of securities, which has become a popular medium of stock exchange in Korea recently,” added the news report.
This comes at the same time that Kakao Corp’s mobile payments service KakaoPay saw a boost of $200 million via an investment from Ant Financial, an investment wing of Alibaba. Through this partnership, Alibaba’s Alipay will provide access to KakaoPay’s services in South Korea. This could potentially introduce another 450 million users to Kakao’s services across the globe. The link to the Korean service may be especially enticing to Alibaba’s Chinese customers, as the Chinese government recently announced plans to disband all domestic cryptocurrency exchanges with an aggressive timeline. Hong Kong has previously been seen as a beneficiary of the business, which is likely to be shifted considerably, although South Korea could also benefit as well.