Upbit, Bithumb solidify leadership in market with impressive Q1 earnings


Upbit and Bithumb announced impressive first-quarter earnings, backed by the rising interest in virtual assets and a recovery in investor sentiment. However, while both exchanges solidify their leadership in the market, other exchanges are experiencing financial difficulties.Dunamu, the operator of Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, recorded operating earnings of 335.6 billion won ($247.5 million) in the first quarter of 2024. The figure represents a 58.39 percent increase compared to Q1 of 2023.Bithumb, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange here, also displayed robust earnings, recording 62.1 billion won in operating earnings in the first quarter of 2024. This marks a remarkable 283 percent increase from a year ago.A Bithumb official explained that its free-fee policy and various membership benefits allowed the exchange to recover market share and improve performance.Both exchanges attributed the surge in operating profits to increased trading volume and investor sentiment, driven by heightened interest in cryptocurrencies, including the approval of a Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds in the U.S. in January.Such a trend has continued since the second half of 2023.

According to recent research by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the market capitalization of domestic virtual assets increased by 53 percent compared to the first half of the same year, reaching 43.6 trillion won.The average daily trading volume rose by 24 percent to 3.6 trillion won, and Korean won deposits increased by 21 percent to 4.9 trillion won.With Bithumb’s aggressive policy to follow Upbit, which has long been dominating the market, the two-leader system has been solidly established in the domestic market.However, this exacerbates the financial difficulties of other exchanges.There are a total of 28 domestic Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) registered with the FIU. Among these, five exchanges, including Bithumb and Upbit, support Korean won transactions, while 23 are coin-only exchanges. Sixteen coin-only exchanges see little or no trading activity, with seven of them scheduled to close their business.Even though the remaining three exchanges that support Korean won transactions — namely Coinone, Korbit, and GOPAX — are seeing profits, their proportion of the transaction volume is continuously decreasing.”The number of VASPs halting operations is continuously increasing,” the Financial Services Commission said. “Please 온라인카지노 exercise caution when trading, storing, or dealing with virtual assets through these service providers.”

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