South Korean port city Busan has forged a partnership with Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX to help the city develop a local cryptocurrency exchange and boost blockchain-based businesses.
Busan Taps FTX To Boost Blockchain Adoption
South Korea’s second-biggest city Busan is looking to become a global blockchain hub.
FTX will help build the Busan Digital Asset Exchange, according to a Tuesday announcement by the Busan Metropolitan City department. The city will use FTX’s technological infrastructure to create its crypto exchange. FTX will further generate and promote blockchain-focused education with local universities and projects within the Busan blockchain regulation-free zone.
Amy Woo, the CEO of FTX Investment Division, indicated that the exchange would set up a South Korean branch in Busan over the next year as it supports the city’s efforts to stimulate the growth of the domestic blockchain sector.
The partnership with FTX follows a recent agreement with Binance, the biggest crypto exchange by trading volume. The global exchange signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Busan to design the city’s blockchain technology and infrastructure. Binance will also establish a presence in the port city by year-end.
Since becoming a blockchain sandbox for South Korea in 2019, the city has undertaken numerous projects in the blockchain space, including rolling out crypto payment support for some services at its most-visited beaches, blockchain-powered toll gates, and even blockchain driver’s licenses.
S. Korea’s Tougher Line On Crypto
Notably, South Korean authorities have ratcheted their scrutiny of the domestic crypto industry in recent months after the shocking blowup of the Terra ecosystem in May. Exchanges such as Coinone, Bithumb, and Upbit were raided by Korean prosecutors investigating a fraud case in relation to the crash of the UST algorithmic stablecoin and its companion token LUNA.
Korea’s anti-money laundering authority is also cracking down on foreign cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country without the requisite registrations. Additionally, the government recently announced plans to tax recipients of crypto airdrops.
In the meantime, the country’s financial watchdog is looking to expedite the review of proposals for new crypto-related laws. The crypto community in the country has long lamented the sluggish pace of regulation, which it feels will help the nascent industry mature.