Major Crypto Exchanges Target Asian Market Amid Growing Regulatory Clarity

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Major crypto exchanges from Asia and the West have shown increasing interest in the Asia-Pacific region.

Coinbase launched in Japan last year, joining the select group of exchanges to offer crypto trading services to native customers. Binance, the world’s leading crypto exchange by trading volume, has forged a series of new partnerships in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

The growing interest in global crypto exchanges in Asia could be attributed to the crypto craze in the region, despite regulatory uncertainty in several countries. The Asia-Pacific region is currently the hub for the majority of crypto growth. Countries like Singapore and Thailand have seen a big boom in crypto adoption as both a retail payment and a form of investment.

Mastercard Asia-Pacific Executive Vice President Rama Sridhar said in an interview with TechAsia that relative to the global market, “the adoption rates for emerging payment options have historically been better in the Asian region.” A survey conducted by Mastercard in 18 markets in 2020 suggested that 94% of consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are considering using emerging payment methods.

Jackson Mueller, director of policy and government relations at Securrency – a financial market infrastructure company – sees the importance of digital payment and the growth of the peer-to-peer market as one of the main reasons for the growing influence of Asia as a crypto hub. He told Cointelegraph:

“Southeast Asia has been a hotbed of payment activity for some time. It’s no surprise to see significant growth in the number of crypto firms, exchanges, and volume of peer activity. -to-peer in the region.

“It is also important to note that we are only just beginning to see the emergence of crypto asset frameworks in the region, alongside ongoing efforts to improve current national payment systems, interconnect these systems with neighboring countries, and promote the development of capital markets,” he added. .

According to a report by Chainalysis, Asian markets accounted for 43% of global cryptocurrency activity or $296 billion in transactions between June 2020 and June 2021. The report further highlighted that Asia’s crypto market Central and South and Oceania is the fourth in the world. , and transaction activity there increased by 706% during the same period.

Here, we will be looking at some of the major global crypto exchanges and service providers with a growing presence in Asia.

Binance’s rapid expansion in Asia

The world’s largest exchange by trading volume experienced a regulatory roller coaster in 2021. After seeing a series of compliance warnings from nearly a dozen countries, Binance got its act together towards the end of the year. The exchange has forged several new partnerships, but its growth in the Asia region has caught everyone’s attention.

Binance has acquired an 18% stake in Singapore stock exchange Hg Exchange. However, the exchange withdrew its crypto license, which many believe was due to non-compliance with anti-money laundering guidelines. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao called the reports fear, uncertainty and doubt, or FUD, and said Singapore remains one of the exchange’s top priorities.

The exchange is now looking to re-establish its presence in Thailand after an early warning in 2021. The crypto exchange has partnered with Gulf Energy Development PCL, a Thai holding company run by billionaire Sarath Ratanavadi.

Binance is looking to open a crypto exchange in a joint venture with a consortium led by MDI Ventures, an investment arm of Telkom Indonesia.

Besides its dominant presence in Southeast Asia, Binance is also entering West Asia and the Middle East with a recent MoU with the Dubai World Trade Center Authority.

Binance Head of Regulatory Liaison Mark McGinness told Cointelegraph:

“We are keeping all of our options open and are currently considering a number of cities that meet user needs, our needs as a business and of course regulatory requirements. The jurisdiction’s crypto regulatory framework is a key consideration. Naturally, we would like to operate where the regulations are clear, enforceable and “pro-crypto”.

Coinbase’s Growing Attention in South Asia

The first crypto exchange in the United States to go public in 2021 is looking to expand to a global market. The exchange quickly expanded its presence in Southeast Asia and built new crypto infrastructure. In terms of regulatory advancements, the crypto platform acquired an operating license in Japan last year. Coinbase was officially launched in Japan in August 2021 after partnering with banking giant Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. Japan is an early adopter of crypto and one of the largest crypto markets by trading volume.

Singapore was one of Coinbase’s first destinations outside the United States, with the company starting services in the country in 2015. At the time, the exchange revealed no plans to expand to other destinations. other Asian countries.

Despite the regulatory uncertainty in India, crypto giants and venture capitalists have been monitoring the Indian market for some time. In July 2021, Coinbase made clear its intentions to expand into India and said it was setting up a new office there and hiring hundreds of new employees.

Kraken is available in over 45 Asian countries

Kraken, a global crypto exchange originating in the United States, has had some success in Asian markets. The exchange’s services are available in over 45 Asian countries and it has become one of the leading Western exchanges to enter the Asian market.

Kraken also relaunched in Japan in 2020 after shutting down services in 2018, citing rising operating costs and the need to focus efforts on “other geographies”. The exchange has become a licensed “crypto-asset exchange service provider” in the country, in line with national regulatory requirements.

Crypto.com’s Asia First Policy

Crypto.com, a global crypto-trading service provider headquartered in Singapore, is best known for its $500 million venture capital fund to support early-stage crypto startups. However, the exchange has a solid footing in the Asian market despite its major sponsorship partnerships in the United States.

The platform launched its flagship crypto Visa card which allows people to spend their crypto at Visa merchants in Asia first, followed by the rest of the global market, indicating the popularity of the crypto ecosystem in Asia.

What makes Asia crypto-friendly?

Messari’s report on the Asian crypto landscape revealed that major crypto nations in the region such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore have significant liquidity reserves. The region is also one of the top crypto spot markets and accounts for over 90% of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) futures trading volume. The nature of traditional finance has also played a key role in becoming a crypto hub, where capital controls in China and South Korea have pushed people into crypto, while low yields in Japan have played a role. a catalytic role in the rapid adoption of cryptography.

Along with major crypto exchanges using their services in Asia and looking to expand further, many global payment processing giants such as Visa and Mastercard also see great potential in the Asian market. In November 2021, Mastercard partnered with three leading crypto service providers in Asia-Pacific to launch crypto Mastercard payment cards.

Countries like India and Pakistan, where crypto regulations are still unclear, are also not lagging behind. India’s crypto market grew by 641% from July 2020 to June 2021 and attracted $638 million in crypto funding, while Pakistan saw a similar increase in crypto adoption. According to a report by FPCCI, Pakistanis held $20 billion in crypto in 2020-2021. Jawad Nayyar, co-founder of Pakistani fintech company PropTech, told Cointelegraph:

“Over the past five years, cryptocurrencies have evolved from a Ponzi scheme to a gambling tool and a highly volatile asset to finally being recognized as a legitimate virtual asset of value in the region. In times of monetary expansion, high inflation, and huge currency devaluation, the private sector now views cryptos as a hedge against such economic adversaries.