Regarding media claims that it is in advanced negotiations to purchase South Korean digital asset exchange GOPAX, Binance declined to comment. In order to acquire a 41.2% ownership in GOPAX from its creator and main shareholder Lee Jun-haeng, Binance intends to keep Lee as CEO. One of the five cryptocurrency trading platforms authorized to offer customers fiat-to-crypto services in South Korea is GOPAX. While Upbit, the market leader in the sector, holds more than 80% of the market, GOPAX, the last of the five to obtain a license, controls only about 0.1%.
Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, stated that the exchange is getting ready to enter the South Korean market in November. In order to promote its blockchain ecosystem, Binance and the city of Busan entered into a cooperation last year that included the establishment of a regional office in Busan. Since its decentralized finance (DeFi) provider GOFi suspended principle and interest payments on November 16 as a result of it brokering goods from Genesis Global Capital, which suspended withdrawals earlier that day, GOPAX has reportedly sought additional financing.
Announcing the completion of the due diligence for a new business arrangement with the “biggest global blockchain infrastructure company,” GOPAX said on December 31. The statement cited a non-disclosure agreement as the reason why a name wasn’t given. Although Binance began doing business in South Korea in 2020, the GOPAX statement from December stated that the partner will be entering the market for the first time. It later withdrew as a result of what it claimed were stricter local rules for cryptocurrency exchanges.
In order to provide user deposit and withdrawal accounts under actual names and to comply with other know-your-customer requirements, cryptocurrency trading platforms in South Korea need to obtain information security permission from the government. They also need to collaborate with a local bank.
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