Crypto exchange Upbit entered the Thai market at an inadvertent moment when the country’s most popular exchange, Bitkub, had been suspended by government regulators.
According to reports in local media, a joint-venture crypto exchange between Upbit APAC and a group of Thai billionaires launched operations on Wednesday, January 20. This follows the suspension of regulations from the country’s most popular trading platform Bitkub on Monday, which had a reported 97% market share before its close.
Upbit Thailand is owned by CP Group heir and Fortune magazine owner Chatchaval Jiaravanon, and two other prominent business figures, Somphote Ahunai and Preecha Praipattaraku.
The CP Group is Thailand’s largest conglomerate, controlling most of the country’s food supply. It has multiple companies, from government infrastructure projects to telecommunications to Covid-19 vaccines, and now crypto.
Upbit Thailand Board member Praipattaraku stated that the company had applied for a digital asset exchange license from the Thai SEC a few months ago:
“It just so happened that we got permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission at this time,”
Bitkub has been Thailand’s main exchange since the closing of BX Thailand in September 2022. Financial regulators ordered it to suspend services and fix issues related to several recent issues during periods of high demand.
Upbit is headquartered in South Korea and operates in Singapore and Indonesia. Its Thai branch, backed with local money, has attracted a large pool of large capitalists there, according to Thai crypto pioneer and CEO of the Satang exchange, Poramin Insom. He told the Bangkok Post;
“Investors in the cryptocurrency market have no loyalty to one market. They tend to open accounts in every market and make more profit from arbitrage between markets. We are not as afraid of Thai competitors as foreign players like Binance or Coinbase are that have yet to enter the Thai market. “
Smaller local exchanges such as Zibmex and Kulap have reported an influx of subscribers this week. Bitkub reopened its mobile app on Wednesday, January 20, with limited service. The website is still not working at press time, and when asked about the resumption of the trading platform, service support was unable to provide a date.