Two Japanese companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange have recently expanded their cryptocurrency operations into South Korea. One has partnered with a local company to launch a bitcoin exchange with a plan to add merchant services. The other held an ICO to develop a crypto exchange after launching a mobile game which allows users to earn bitcoin.
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Remixpoint Inc (3825.T), which operates the bitcoin exchange Bitpoint in Japan, recently launched a cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea called Bitpoint Korea.
To launch this exchange, the company partnered with a Korean company called Sys & Tech which develops Forex margin automated trading systems. “In this business tie-up, we supply virtual currencies and liquidity to the virtual currency trading system, while Sys & Tech will be responsible for [its] operations including marketing and customer correspondence. We will revitalize the Korean virtual currency market,” Remixpoint claimed.
Cryptocurrency services offered through the partnership include an exchange, spot transaction services, and money transmission services. The exchange currently supports BTC, BCH, and ETH. For further expansion into the Korean market, the company plans to provide merchant payment solutions to retail stores in the near future.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Metaps Inc (6172.T) is an app monetization platform which uses artificial intelligence and big data to maximize app revenue and optimize campaign performance. Its Korean subsidiary, Metapsplus Inc, develops mobile advertisement platforms.
The subsidiary raised approximately 1.1 billion yen in a token sale last month to develop and operate a cryptocurrency exchange called Coinroom, which it recently beta-launched. Coinroom currently lists BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC and the company’s own token called pluscoin (PLC).
Prior to launching Coinroom, Metapsplus launched a mobile game called Dig Land which it says players can earn bitcoin from. The game is available in 141 countries, the company detailed. Characters in the game dig minerals buried in the ground using various equipment and receive rewards in-game. The company says that there are several ways to earn bitcoin within the game including digging minerals and solving puzzles.
Competition and Regulatory Environment
The Korean won is currently the third most traded currency for bitcoin by volume, behind only the Japanese yen and US dollar. Bithumb is the country’s largest bitcoin exchange with about 70% of domestic bitcoin market share, followed by Coinone and Korbit. Last month, a platform with over 110 cryptocurrencies beta-launched. This platform, Upbit, is operated by Kakao Stock, a stock trading platform based on the country’s most popular chat app Kakao Talk.
While both Japan and South Korea are among top countries for cryptocurrency trading, they have very different regulatory environments. Japan has made bitcoin a legal method of payment, whereas South Korea is still working on its regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. In addition, Japan does not have specific lawsgoverning initial coin offerings (ICOs), while Korea has banned them.