South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is expanding its operations in the Middle East by opening a new fiat-to-crypto exchange in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the South Korean Financial News reported.
According to the report, Bithumb has signed a memorandum-of-understanding with Abu Dhabi-based firm Nvelop to form a joint venture in the UAE to operate the new platform.
Nvelop was established as a joint venture of the Abu Dhabi-based E11 Investment Fund and Taiwanese venture capital outfit Trill Ventures Group. The purpose of the company is to invest in blockchain businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
With this partnership, Bithumb aims to increase its foothold in the MENA region with plans to expand to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain after its UAE entry.
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“The partnership with Envelope will enable us to build a foothold in the Middle East as a global exchange,” a Bithumb spokesperson told the Financial Times. “This year, we will diversify into a business centered on overseas business.”
Last year, the UAE’s financial market regulator the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) signaled to introduce a regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency sector licensing the business dealing in digital assets.
According to the FSRA’s plans, the agency will introduce the licensing system from the first half of this year.
Global Market is the Target
After its dominance in the South Korean market, Bithumb is now eying to grow its foothold around the globe. Last week, it launched an OTC trading platform for institutional clients under the Hong Kong-headquartered Bithumb Global.
The exchange is also pushing for a public listing in the United States via a reverse merger deal as Bithumb’s parent company signed a letter-of-intent with US-listed Blockchain Industries in January.