Binance Stretching Asian Wings, Verge Partners with South Korean Firm, and April Fools Jokes: Weekly Crypto News

April 3, 2020

The past week has not been bad for the cryptocurrency industry as the market capitalization grew from $184.1 billion to $186.4 billion (at the time of writing). Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance has been aggressive on its Asian expansion plans. 

Perhaps the highlight of the week was on April Fool’s Day in which some people felt that the pranks are not funny at the moment as the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic. CoinMarketCap was in a mood of its own. Coinmarketcap, the world’s most visited crypto site, dethroned bitcoin on the top spot (by market capitalization) with Toilet Paper Token, which went out of stock seconds after release. Those who did not pick up the prank thought CoinMarketCap had been hacked. It’s a little too late to buy the Toilet Paper Token as it has been removed on CoinMarketCap!

Leading crypto exchanges are expanding their footprint in Asia

The crypto market, in a similar fashion to the traditional markets, is not in its best shape due to the rampage caused by the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic. But despite this setback, some of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges are not holding back on expanding their operations in Asia. 

The increasing regulatory certainty on the continent has made it a prime destination for both new and existing crypto businesses. The past month has seen three big exchanges making moves to tap the Asian market.

Coinbase, the US’ leading cryptocurrency exchange has been working on penetrating the Japanese crypto market. The exchange joined the country’s blockchain regulatory watchdog, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) on March 2. This is a show of intent in becoming a leading player in Japan’s cryptocurrency market.

BitMEX invested in India’s CoinDCX, a leading local exchange that remained operational amid the central bank blanket ban on cryptocurrency trading and related activities. The ban has since been lifted, prompting many international investors to dig deep into their pockets to invest in India’s crypto market.

The cryptocurrency exchange Binance, fast-evolving into a powerful crypto ecosystem, will be launching a Korean exchange in the coming days.

Binance to launch a crypto exchange in South Korea in the coming days

Binance cryptocurrency exchange’s aggressive expansion mission will make its next stop in South Korea, where Binance KR will be launched, marking the “first global use case of our Binance Cloud solution” unveiled in February, Binance wrote on its website on March 31.

Unlike other dedicated fiat-to-crypto gateways created in different countries by Binance, Binance KR is a crypto-to-crypto exchange for local users in Korea. The crypto-to-crypto gateway is intended for Korean users leveraging Binance’s core functionalities such as the market’s deepest spot trading liquidity, matching engine, state-of-the-art security, custody, and risk controls.

Binance KR will initially support Binance KRW (BKRW), a BEP-2 stablecoin pegged to South Korea’s fiat currency the Won. The stablecoin BKRW is listed on Binance.

The new exchange’s users will be able to convert the South Korean Won to the stablecoin BKRW which they will use for trading. Binance KR initially supports BTC, ETH, BNB, and BKRW and plans to support USDT and BUSD are in the pipeline.

Binance CEO Zhangpeng Zhao, affectionately called CZ within the crypto community said,

“We are pleased to provide a digital asset platform for users in Korea to bring the trading depth, security and transaction speed of Binance.com to Binance KR. Our decision to list BKRW trading pairs will allow us to seamlessly connect crypto to the South Korean won in order to expand our local services.”

The new Binance KR exchange will be open for registration and deposits on April 2, followed by opening for trading on April 6 and allowing withdrawals on April 9.

Hong-Kong crypto services firm hires former UBS Group AG executive as Chairman of Asia

Hong-Kong-based cryptocurrency and blockchain services firm Diginex has hired financial services veteran Chi-Won Yoon as the Chairman of Asia.

Yoon recently served as the vice-chairman of UBS Wealth Management before announcing his retirement last year after spending 22 years at the firm. He served in different capacities during his time at the firm, Diginex said in a statement published on its website.

Yoon, who joined UBS in 1997, was the President and CEO of UBS AG, Asia Pacific and sat on the UBS Group executive board from 2009 to 2015.

Yoon previously had stints at major financial powerhouses such as Lehman Brothers in New York and Hong Kong and Merrill Lynch in New York.

Yoon’s role involves working closely with Diginex business heads to bring its blockchain and crypto services to partners and investors throughout Asia.

He expressed his excitement in joining the crypto company.

“Digital assets and blockchain technology have huge potential for growth over the next decade and Diginex is a pioneer in this space. I am very excited to join the business in this critical part of its growth,” said Yoon.

Verge partners with South Korean crypto company MeconCash

Decentralized privacy cryptocurrency Verge has entered into a marketing partnership with MeconCash, a South Korean crypto firm, Verge announced on April 2.

The deal is a two-way street in which Verge benefits from MeconCash’s marketing channel and reach within the South Korean market while MeconCash benefits from the large digital following that Verge commands.

Verge will expose MeconCash to its global audience through marketing events and collaborations such as podcasts. MeconCash will expose Verge to the South Korean market through TV interviews among other methods.

Verge currency Editor Mihael Radoslovic said, “We are very excited about this marketing partnership! MeconCash is a fast-developing company in one of the most advanced countries when it comes to use of digital currencies. South Korea recently legalized cryptocurrencies and made a huge step forward for digital currency users.”

Binance Academy launches Blockchain Technology and Industry Research Institute in China

Binance’s non-profit educational arm Binance Academy announced the establishment of a blockchain research institute in China.

According to the announcement, Lingang Blockchain Technology and Industry Research Institute will be a hub for talent, shaping breakthroughs blockchain and integrating the technology with artificial intelligence (AI), big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and many more technologies.

The research institute will be at the forefront of fostering blockchain research and education. It will provide resources to support academic and industry research.

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