Dunamu CEO Lee Sirgoo speaks to reporters during a press conference held alongside the 2022 Upbit Developer Conference in Busan on Thursday. (Dunamu)
“Crypto exchange operators face many limitations when expanding their blockchain business,” Dunamu CEO Lee Sirgoo said at a press conference held alongside UDC in Busan.
“For us, NFTs are the most viable solution to make a profit other than exchange fees. A joint venture with Hybe called Levvels is currently preparing for the launch of the service and our chairman One Song Chi-hyung sees it as an important project,” he added.
Last November, Dunamu signed a stock exchange agreement with Hybe to establish a JV aimed at developing and launching NFTs based on artists represented by K-pop powerhouses. Collectors can purchase several projects created by Levvels, including his NFTs for BTS merchandise.
“We believe that Levvels will ultimately be an opportunity to go global and enter foreign markets,” Lee said.
Dunamu has struggled to expand its business overseas as South Korea bans foreigners from buying and selling cryptocurrencies.
“Dunamu is very grateful that the U.S. authorities gave Hybe permission to operate there, which made it possible for us to invest in Levvels,” Lee said.
The joint venture will be based in the United States, where both the NFT market and Hybe artist fan base are strong and large.
Regarding the NFT market, Lee described the market as “overheated” last year, but Dunamu hasn’t been able to capitalize on it as much as hoped.
Doonamu chairman Sung Ji-hyun delivers opening remarks at the 2022 UDC held in Busan on Thursday. (Dunamu)
NFTs are unique, irreplaceable, non-reproducible digital objects (mainly artwork, music, and other projects) backed by blockchain technology that give the purchaser proof of ownership.
Meanwhile, Lee said that Dunamu is ready to compete head-on if a global cryptocurrency exchange enters South Korea, citing Upbit’s transparency and stability as its main strengths.
“It remains to be seen if the Korean crypto market will change once foreign exchange enters the market.
In recent months, there have been growing signs that more foreign cryptocurrency exchanges are looking to enter the South Korean market.
Vidente, owner of South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, said in July that it had discussed a potential stake sale to FTX, a crypto trading platform co-founded by billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. According to media reports, major exchange Binance is aiming to return to South Korea after pulling out of the market in January 2021.
About 3,000 people registered for this year’s UDC, according to Dunamu officials. After two years of pandemic turmoil, the two-day event, held directly at the Busan Port International Exhibition Center, aims to tackle the latest issues and trends in the blockchain industry.