South Korean Cryptocurrency Mania: Exchanges are Adding More Employees Than Banks

South Korean Cryptocurrency Mania: Exchanges are Adding More Employees Than Banks

By Joseph Young - min read
Updated 22 May 2020

South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges including Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit are adding more employees than banks and financial institutions, local mainstream news networks have reported.

YTN, one of South Korea’s largest mainstream media outlets, revealed that Bithumb, which processes more than $2.6 billion worth of cryptocurrency trades on a daily basis, has been hiring more talents and experienced specialists from the country’s finance sector than major financial institutions.

The hiring spree came after the government called on local trading platforms to operate as fully regulated financial institutions. After an emergency meeting to discuss cryptocurrency regulations on December 13 was held, the South Korean government has focused on regulating the local cryptocurrency market and tightening policies for exchanges.

In an interview with Reuters, the Bithumb team stated that it welcomes regulations from the South Korean government, given that they will further legitimize and mature the local cryptocurrency industry.

”A [sic] right set of regulations will rather nurture the (virtual currency) market, and we would welcome that,” said Bithumb.

For more than three years, the South Korean government has withheld from regulating the cryptocurrency market because it feared that the regulations would lead general consumers to believe the government has embraced or acknowledge the market.

Still, because of the exponential increase in demand for cryptocurrencies from South Korean investors, the government decided to regulate the market, mostly to protect them.

Consequently, the size of cryptocurrency exchanges grew rapidly, to a point in which manual Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems could no longer be handled with existing infrastructure and employees. Earlier this week, Binance revealed that it has been adding more than 250,000 users on a daily basis. Bithumb, as the second largest cryptocurrency exchange, has likely been adding at least 100,000 new users per day.

“Sorry guys, servicing existing members is higher priority at this point. Full team working around the clock. Both tech and support. Just too much demand. Added 250,000 new users in the last 24 hours,” Binance CEO Chang Peng Zhao said.

Since last year, Bithumb has been focusing on expanding its business to address the demand for bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market from high profile investors. In mid-2017, Bithumb launched an offline exchange to better serve newcomers and institutional investors.

It is expected that in 2018, South Korean exchanges will continue to facilitate the growing demand for cryptocurrencies from the traditional finance sector by drastically expanding their businesses.