‘Big Four’ South Korean Exchanges Hired 600+ Employees this Year

It appears that the biggest South Korean exchanges are on an expansion drive because their workforce has expanded by 620 employees in this year alone. According to The Fact, a popular media outlet, the ‘big four’ crypto trading platforms in the country, which are Bithumb, Coinone, Upbit, and Korbit, have been working on expanding their workforce in 2021 and their pay scale is also on the rise. There are a number of former senior-level regulators who are amongst the new hires, which include ex-officials of the body named Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), which has indirect control over how crypto is regulated in South Korea. 

Other than the hires that have already been reported previously, this month, Bithumb hired a former civil servant of ‘grade 5’, who had worked for the regulator governing the crypto sector, the Financial Services Commission (FSC). According to The Fact, it is Upbit that has undergone the most aggressive growth and 350 new employees have been hired. They also have plans of hiring 60 more people before the year ends. Meanwhile, Bithumb had gone on a hiring spree back in September, which it had taken on around 200 new employees. In addition, the job offers in the crypto space are coming with massive salaries now and some have seen their pay rates increase by almost 150%. 

The media outlet reported that new job postings are coming with a variety of bonus benefits for enticing the top IT talent in South Korea, which include housing expenses, stock options, and 20% annual salary bonuses. In fact, a recommendation bonus of more than $2,500 is also given to employees recommending their acquaintances who are hired to work at the exchanges. The authors of the report noted that at least 100 people who have been hired were for the primary purpose of dealing with matters related to anti-money laundering (AML). 

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Meanwhile, the companies are expanding so quickly that they are ready to acquire stakes in the traditional banking industry. Dunamu, the operator of the Upbit exchange, had bought a minor stake in November in the Woori Financial Group. This is the company behind Woori Bank and one of the biggest banking groups in the country. The move was declared as one of the most significant developments of the year, both domestically and internationally. Late last month, Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation, which is a state-owned company, had put up its 9% in Woori for sale. 

Dunamu had immediately snapped up 1% of the stake in a surprising move and the remaining 8% had been scooped up by four other companies. The leading financial newspaper, The Fact also added that crypto exchanges and their companies would exhibit more M&A activity in the year ahead because these companies are looking to establish themselves in a legitimate manner in the world of traditional finance. Other than hiring new employees, crypto exchanges have also been acquiring other startups and platforms for expanding their presence in the crypto market and to explore new opportunities. 

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