Busan, South Korea, has revealed details of its plan to become the first city in the world to launch and operate a crypto exchange. The city says it hopes to welcome its first crypto-trading customers by the end of 2023.
The city was granted a special status – a regulation-free blockchain zone in July 2019. However, until recently, this has borne little in the way of fruit, as most city projects have focused on private blockchain systems.
This was due mainly to the previous president’s cautious stance on all things crypto-related. The stance centered around the controversial insistence that blockchain and crypto policy should be treated as two separate matters.
This year, President Yoon Seok-yul was elected on a manifesto that promised a more liberal and pro-business approach to crypto development. In particular, Yoon pledged to beef up Busan’s blockchain credentials.
Busan responded by announcing details of what it is calling the Busan Digital Asset Exchange. It has referred to the planned exchange as an entity that will “list and trade virtual currencies.”
Maeil Kyungjae reported that Busan has pledged to launch its exchange “next year” and has laid out a roadmap for its projected progress.
How Busan Plans to Launch its City-run Crypto Exchange
The city stated that it would launch a “promotion committee” to oversee the launch. The committee will comprise 15 experts from the crypto industry and the academic world.
Busan also said it would establish an exchange “holding company” in the first half of next year and three “market management organizations” in the second half of 2023. It stated that its goal was to have the exchange up and running “by the end of next year.”
The exchange will also launch three crypto-related subsidiaries next year. But while the city will remain the ultimate decision-maker, it has also sought “private sector leadership.”
The city will likely choose a single firm to manage assets such as fiat and cryptoassets – and will listen to bids from established players in the field.
The city will provide much of the funding, but could seek to “sell its stake” to the private sector “after a certain period of time,” the media outlet noted.
International exchange heavyweights like Binance and Crypto.com have already signed collaboration deals with Busan – likely hoping that this will provide them with a way into the high-volume South Korean market. Currently, only five domestic exchanges have licenses that allow them to offer fiat-to-crypto trading.