Through Dunamu, UPbit partnered with Kakao Corp., a publically listed internet giant that holds stakes in numerous products including South Korea’s most popular online music streaming service as well as owning apps such as the hugely popular Kakaotalk instant messaging service. The alliance between Dunamu and Kakao dares back to KakaoStock, a mobile stock trading app which leverages Kakao’s instant messaging base of 50 million. The exchange is also partnered with US-based exchange Bittrex, also one of the world’s biggest. At the peak of December 2017’s cryptocurrency mania, Upbit’s average trading volume reached $4.5 billion a day, with a one-day record of $11 billion. With Kakao also offering an increasingly popular online banking app and Kakao Pay, the country’s second most popular mobile payments app, the ways in which UPbit might in future leverage the exchange’s backers means it is likely to remain a dominant force, at least in South Korea. And as the world’s biggest national cryptocurrency market, it’s not a bad one to dominate.
At least for the moment, Upbit’s website and exchange platform are only available in Korean, which will, of course, limit the attraction for an international audience. However, the Google translation is pretty good and means that the site and exchange platform can be navigated through reasonably comfortably in English, and presumably other languages. The more significant barrier for international users is that to register and trade with the exchange the same process is applied as to South Koreans and it’s pretty geo-specific. KakaoTalk and Kakao Pay accounts are required for login as names verification by a South Korean mobile carrier. Basically, if you don’t live in South Korea, opening up an account with UPbit would require an inordinate effort.
The desktop and mobile app versions of the exchange platform closely resemble the KakaoStock platforms and are essentially a version of the same platform adapted to cryptocurrencies trading. This does mean that the technology is built to a very high level in terms of design, usability, and functionality.