A total of 29 South Korean crypto exchanges have submitted their registration under the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), as required by the Financial Transactions Reports Act (FTRA).
The FIU registration deadline was this past Sept. 24.
According to the FIU, a total of 42 virtual asset service providers (VASPs) submitted their registration by the deadline. Among the 42 VASPs, 29 were crypto exchanges.
The remaining 13 VASPs include firms such as KODA (Korea Digital Assets); a crypto custodian; Coinplug, a blockchain solutions provider; and Hexlant, a blockchain R&D firm.
VASPs still need to have their registration applications approved by the FIU.
So far, Upbit is the only exchange to have its registration officially approved by the FIU. Upbit submitted its registration by Aug. 20, becoming the first exchange to do so. Every other VASP submitted its registration within September, with the overwhelming majority waiting until the Sept. 24 deadline.
Among the 29 exchanges who submitted their registration, only the Big 4 -- Upbit, Bithumb, Coinoine, and Korbit -- were able to secure bank partnerships. Bank partnerships are a prerequisite for any exchange looking to provide services with fiat on-ramps. The remaining 25 exchanges are attempting to register as VASPs without fiat on-ramps.
The South Korean government has accounted for 63 exchanges that operate domestically; the remaining 34 that have not registered are expected to shut down.
In the months leading up to the FIU registration deadline, there was an unofficial consensus among industry insiders and observers that the Big 4 would be only the survivors of the FTRA onslaught. In many ways, that prediction looks accurate. Although 29 exchanges have submitted their registration, only the Big 4 are applying as exchanges that provide fiat on-ramps.
Upbit's registration has already been approved. If the FIU approves the registration of the remaining three, the majority of South Korean crypto traders will likely flock to the Big 4 for the majority of their trading for the simple reasons of convenience and accessibility.
As of now, there is no reason to suspect that the FIU will reject the registration applications of the remaining three.
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