Binance to Help South Korean City of Busan Launch a ‘Digital Assets Exchange’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 3 min read
Source: AdobeStock / prima91


The crypto exchange giant Binance will set up shop in South Korea’s “blockchain hub” city of Busan – and although the firm will not be opening a token trading platform in the nation as of yet, the company could help the city launch an exchange of its own.

In a press release, Binance announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the City of Busan that would allow the latter to “receive technological and infrastructure support from Binance for the development of the city’s blockchain ecosystem and promotion of the Busan Digital Asset Exchange.”

The latter has been in the pipeline for some time, and city authorities envisage the creation of a kind of city-run stock market for certain types of cryptoassets, such as security tokens. This plan has remained very much on the drawing board for several years, with the government of President Moon Jae-in maintaining a hardline stance on all things crypto-related – particularly domestic token launches, which remain outlawed in all their forms.

But President Yoon Seok-yul, who took power earlier this summer, has promised to “review” the ban, and the public sector has already responded. SK, the second-largest business group in the nation, has already revealed plans to launch a token via one of its subsidiaries, and multiple South Korean industry insiders have told that other companies may well follow suit.

South Korean media outlets have also suggested that other large business groups are actively formulating their own token launch plans, albeit behind closed doors.

Busan was granted regulation-free status for blockchain-related technological developments under Moon’s government, but was hampered by the fact that Seoul insisted heavily on private blockchain adoption – rather than allowing companies in the city to make use of public blockchain networks.

Yoon, however, has promised to breathe new life into the industry as a whole – and the Busan initiative in particular.

The city’s Mayor, Park Heong-joon, was quoted as stating that the Binance agreement had moved the city “one step closer to establishing the Busan Digital Asset Exchange as a global integrated platform for digital assets.”

Park claimed that the deal would help turn Busan into “a blockchain-specialized city” and a “global digital finance hub” – and that it would act as a “growth engine for the local economy.”

As part of the MoU agreement, Binance has also pledged to “establish a presence in Busan by the end of the year.” Doing so would give the exchange a physical foothold in the country, and could – theoretically – allow it to begin exploring the possibility of applying for an operating licence. The South Korean market is currently dominated by domestic players, and at present only five exchanges have the regulatory permits that allow them to offer fiat trading.

Binance stated that it would also begin order book sharing with Busan, and claimed it would start “supporting blockchain-related research and investments in the city,” as well as “providing specialized blockchain education and online resources” from its Binance Academy education wing.

The firm will look to make an immediate splash by aiding “with the organization” of Busan’s Blockchain Week, an event slated for October this year.

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, Binance’s CEO and Founder, was quoted as stating that he was looking forward to “close cooperation with the city to support the establishment of digital asset exchanges,” as well as “various blockchain industries.”

The South Korean media outlet Munhwa Ilbo reported that Busan’s “digital asset exchange” could be launched at the city’s Busan International Financial Center as early as “next year.”

The media outlet added that “blockchain-specialized training courses” would be launched at universities in Busan, with Binance’s aid – and that the firm would back “internship programs” and “investment”-related projects.


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