Dunamu CEO Lee Sirgoo speaks to reporters at a press conference held on the sidelines of the Upbit Developer Conference 2022 in Busan on Thursday. (Dunamo)
“Cryptocurrency exchange operators face many limitations when expanding their blockchain business,” Dunamu CEO Lee Sirgoo said at a press conference held on the sidelines of UDC in Busan.
“For us, NFT is the most viable solution for us to make profit besides exchange fees – our joint venture with Hybe, called Levvels, is currently preparing to launch its services and our president Song Chi-hyung sees it as a major project,” he added.
In November last year, Dunamu signed a stock exchange agreement with Hybe to establish JV aimed at developing and launching NFTs based on artists represented by the K-pop powerhouse. Collectors will be able to purchase many projects created by Levvels including NFTs for BTS merchandise.
“We believe Levvels will be an opportunity to finally go global and venture into the overseas market,” Lee said.
Dunamu has struggled to expand its business overseas as foreigners are prohibited from buying or selling cryptocurrency in Korea.
“Dunamo is very grateful that Hybe has received permission from the US authorities to operate the business there, which has enabled us to invest in Levvels,” Lee told me.
The project will be based in the United States, where both the NFT market and the fan base of Hybe artists are strong and large.
In the NFT market, Lee described last year’s market as “frenetic”, yet Donnamo was not able to capitalize on it as much as he had expected.
Donamo President Song Chi-hyung delivers an opening speech at the 2022 UDC in Busan on Thursday. (Dunamo)
NFTs are unique, irreplaceable and irreproducible digital objects – primarily artwork, music, and other projects – powered by blockchain technology that gives buyers proof of ownership.
Meanwhile, Lee said that Donnamo is ready to face competition directly with global crypto exchanges, should it enter Korea, citing Upbit’s transparency and stability as key strengths.
We don’t know yet if the Korean crypto market will change once foreign exchanges enter the market. But we believe that Upbit will not be affected due to its transparency and stability.”
There have been increasing signs in recent months that more foreign cryptocurrency exchanges are seeking to enter the Korean market.
Vidente, the owner of South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, said in July that it was in discussions about a possible sale of its stake to FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange co-founded by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. Media reports also claimed that the leading platform Binance is looking to return to South Korea after its exit from the market in January 2021.
About 3,000 people have signed up for this year’s UDC, the country’s largest annual blockchain developer conference, which kicked off Thursday, according to Dunamu officials. The two-day event, which is being held in person at the Busan Port International Fair ＆ Convention Center after two years of epidemic disruption, seeks to tackle the latest issues and trends in the blockchain industry.
Written by Jung Min Kyung (email@example.com)