South Korean securities companies have reportedly set their focus on the crypto industry and plan to set up digital asset exchanges in the first half of 2023. Such firms include Mirae Asset Securities and Samsung Securities.
The domestic financial regulators have been quite strict with crypto-related entities in the past few years. Last year, prompted by the mandatory requirements that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) enforced, over 60 trading venues halted their operations.
A Fresh Wave of Crypto Exchanges in South Korea
A local media revealed that seven major South Korean securities companies intend to establish cryptocurrency exchanges in the first months of next year. Recently, these entities have been collaborating with domestic monetary watchdogs to receive a license for such activities by the end of 2022.
“Currently, discussions necessary for the establishment are being finalized,” an official from one of the firms stated.
Two of these companies are Mirae Asset Securities and Samsung Securities. To introduce its crypto platform, the former plans to establish a subsidiary under Mirae Asset Consulting (an affiliated organization). Once released, the exchange will provide Bitcoin and Ether trading services as well as dealing with non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
For its part, Samsung Securities seeks to enter the blockchain-based security token business. In 2021, the firm tried to launch a token trading platform but could not organize the necessary team of professionals who had to carry out the task.
The plans of those Korean firms are in line with the pro-crypto stance of the country’s newly elected President, Yoon Suk-yeol. Earlier this year, he vowed to increase the minimum threshold for paying capital gains tax on profits from digital asset investments and thus, create a better environment for domestic investors.
The FIU’s Hunt on Crypto Exchanges
Last year, South Korea’s top financial regulator – the FIU – instructed all local digital asset platforms to comply with its anti-money laundering (AML) rules and register with the watchdog. More than 60 firms did not manage to meet those requirements and shut their operations in September 2021.
The four major exchanges (Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit) successfully completed the necessary steps and continued providing services to Korean users.
Companies like ProBit, Cashierest, and Flybit obtained security certificates, allowing them to continue operating in the country but without making won settlements.