S. Korean City Busan Taps Huobi to Develop Blockchain Infrastructure

Crypto exchange Huobi Global and its local counterpart Huobi Korea have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Busan Metropolitan City government to develop its local blockchain infrastructure, the company said on Wednesday.

“The City of Busan is pleased to partner with Huobi to foster the growth of our blockchain ecosystem,” Heong-Joon Park, mayor of Busan, said in a prepared statement. “As a blockchain regulation-free zone, Busan offers a conducive environment to develop the latest digital financial technologies, which has attracted many blockchain companies from across the world.”

Under the agreement, Huobi Global and Huobi Korea will work closely with the city to develop its nascent blockchain industry, partnering in research and development, technology and financial support for the Busan Digital Currency Exchange, as well as the recruitment of blockchain-focused talent for the Busan local exchange.

Huobi has been operating in South Korea through a local office since 2019, where it is regulated under a license issued by the Korean Financial Services Commission last year. It is among the largest crypto exchanges with daily trading volumes of over $800 million.

Busan has previously roped in crypto exchanges FTX and Binance to work on its blockchain efforts in broader plans to become a global blockchain and financial hub.

In August, Mayor Hyung-jun said he “will not stop” in efforts to make Busan a blockchain hub. However, a CoinDesk visit to Busan’s blockchain center in August revealed that the city's blockchain hub team was less than five employees working out of a shared office space.

As such, local industry observers told CoinDesk at the time that optimistic development plans were dented following the collapse of the Korean stablecoin project Terra in May, after which the government is said to be taking a cautious approach towards the proliferation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the country.