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Binance Reportedly Close to Sealing Deal for South Korean Exchange Gopax

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: ArLawKa/Adobe

Binance is allegedly close to sealing a deal to buy a majority stake in the South Korean crypto exchange Gopax – per multiple domestic media reports. Outlets are claiming that the deal has been agreed in principle. But they note that a few final remaining legal and procedural hurdles still need to be cleared before the deal can be made official.

Should Binance complete the move – which appears to have been in the pipelines for several months – the world’s biggest crypto exchange will have a direct line into the high-volume South Korean market. Gopax is one of only five domestic exchanges to have been granted a fiat KRW trading license. The exchange also has a banking deal with Joenbuk Bank, which provides individual accounts for all Gopax customers.

One-month trading volumes on the crypto exchange Gopax. (Source: CoinGecko)

Gopax has denied claims that the deal has been completed and said it was “unable to confirm” the veracity or otherwise of the reports, per Money S.

But Decenter claimed that Binance had already “completed” its due diligence for what it called the “acquisition of Gopax.” The media outlet wrote that Binance was “taking the final steps” needed before “confirming the procedure.”

The media outlet stated that an unnamed person close to the deal had confirmed that Binance had “planned to announce the acquisition around Christmas last year,” but added that a few final obstacles still remained.

Newsis reported that these could pertain to consultations with minor shareholders and “procedural inspections” pertaining to foreign investors wishing to do business in South Korea.

Decenter added that it “cannot rule out the possibility that the [South Korean] financial authorities, whose stance on investor protection has become stronger in recent times, will impose direct or indirect sanctions on this takeover.”

Is Binance Hoping to Break into the South Korean Crypto Market?

Decenter also reported that Binance plans to buy a controlling 41.2% stake from Gopax’s CEO and biggest single shareholder Lee Jun-haeng. But, the media outlet claimed, Binance intends to retain Gopax’s management team – at least for the time being.

Gopax has a very small share of the South Korean market (around 01%), a market that is currently dominated by Upbit. The latter has a massive 80% of the market, per Decenter’s calculations.

One-month trading volumes on the crypto exchange Upbit. (Source: CoinGecko)

But, the media outlets predicted, Binance’s entry into the market would likely shake up the sector. This would particularly be the case if Binance and Gopax were to begin sharing order books, they noted.