When it comes to cryptocurrency trading, choosing the right exchange is of utmost importance. A lot of things factor into this decision- trading fees, deposit and withdrawal charges, security infrastructure as well as the overall reputation of the exchange. The fact that there are hundreds of exchanges also makes this task seem more intimidating.
Here, we will discuss one Asia-based exchange called Upbit that showed quite a lot of promise when it was launched. It is a geo-specific exchange that caters mainly to the East and Southeast Asian markets. Owned by one of the most valuable Korean startups, Upbit was at one time one of the top exchanges in terms of daily trading volume.
Now, let us learn more about Upbit to help you decide if it is the right exchange for you or not.
Upbit is a cryptocurrency exchange that was launched in 2017 in South Korea in partnership with the American exchange Bittrex. It is operated by the fintech company Dunamu which also operates the securities trading app KakaoStock.
It started operations by offering 115 different tokens to its customers and supporting markets that could be traded with the Korean Won(KRW), Bitcoin(BTC), Ethereum(ETH), and Tether(USDT).
In December 2017, ex-Kakao CEO Lee Suk-woo took over as the CEO of Upbit after Dunamu’s founder and CEO Song Chi-hyung assumed the role of Chairman.
Just a few months after it started operations, Upbit began to rank first in the world in terms of 24-hour trading volumes as per CoinMarketCap. It started expanding in Southeast Asia in 2018 by launching in Singapore and Indonesia and in Thailand in 2021.
Upbit supports more than 180 different cryptocurrencies in South Korea. The Korean Won(KRW) is the only fiat currency that it supports. Some of the most popular cryptocurrencies available on Upbit are:
The trading fee on Upbit is different for the different countries it operates in.
In Singapore, Upbit charges a flat 0.25% fee for the SGD markets for limit and market orders. This comes down to a flat 0.2% for BTC and USDT markets. In the case of stop-limit orders, the fee charged is 0.25% for SGD markets and 0.2% for BTC and USDT markets.
When it comes to Indonesia, limit and market orders have a 0% maker fee and a 0.51% taker fee for IDR markets. BTC and USDT markets are charged a flat 0.46% fee. For stop-limit orders, IDR markets have a 0.51% fee while it is 0.46% for BTC and USDT markets.
In Thailand, Upbit charges a maker and taker fee of 0.15% for THB markets for limit and market orders. There is a flat fee of 0.25% for BTC and USDT markets. When it comes to stop-limit orders, Upbit Thailand has a 0.15% fee for THB markets and a 0.25% fee for BTC and USDT markets.
Deposit and Withdrawal Fee
There is no deposit fee on Upbit and the withdrawal fee differs according to the type of coin being withdrawn and the territory in which the exchange operates. For example, in Thailand, the withdrawal fee is 15 THB or 0.0005 BTC in the case of Bitcoin.
In Singapore, the withdrawal fee charged is 5 SGD or 0.0005 BTC for Bitcoin and 0.01 ETH for Ether. Users in Indonesia pay a withdrawal fee of 25,000 IDR and 0.0005 for BTC and 0.01 ETH in the case of Ether. However, it should be noted that withdrawal fees can differ due to blockchain conditions.
Security Review- Is Upbit Safe?
Upbit follows the industry standard best practices for securing its platform. It requires mandatory KYC verification for users to get higher deposit and withdrawal limits. The exchange also requires its customers to set a fund password which is a second password used when withdrawing funds. This adds an extra layer of security when funds are withdrawn from a trading account.
Upbit also supports two-factor authentication(2FA) for additional security of user accounts. It also has 24/7 real-time security monitoring and a security system that is ISO 27001(information security), ISO 27017(cloud security), and ISO 27018(cloud privacy) certified.
Upbit does not reveal more about its security infrastructure though it does say that it provides financial-institution-grade security. Despite all this, Upbit suffered a major hack in 2019 when 342,000 ETH worth $48.5 million was stolen from its hot wallet. The exchange later reassured customers that Upbit assets would be used to cover the losses due to the cyber attack.
Pros of Upbit
Variety of Cryptocurrencies Available
Upbit has over 180 cryptocurrencies available on its main platform in South Korea. Even in other territories like Thailand and Indonesia, it has a sizeable number of crypto tokens and digital assets on offer.
Upbit takes security seriously and requires 2-factor authentication as well as a fund password to be used when withdrawing funds. It is also ISO certified and monitors security in real-time. While it did suffer a hack in 2019, it compensated users and also upgraded its Ethereum wallet security.
No Deposit Fee
There is practically no deposit fee on Upbit and even the withdrawals are free if you use Lightning Transfer. This is a huge plus when you are trading on Upbit.
Upbit has a neat interface and provides market data, real-time trends and charts and analyses of individual cryptocurrencies to help traders make an informed decision while trading.
Cons of Upbit
Available in Limited Territories
Upbit focuses primarily on its market in South Korea. While it has expanded to other countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore in the past few years, its services are largely unavailable for users in other countries. Registering and trading on Upbit can be a big hassle if you do not reside in any of the above-mentioned countries.
No Margin Trading
While Upbit has limit, market, and stop-limit orders, it does not support either leverage trading or margin trading which can be a turn-off for more advanced traders.
The trading fee charged by Upbit is largely industry-standard. While it is not the highest, it cannot be considered extraordinarily low either. So, look elsewhere if you want an exchange with extremely low trading fees.
Limited Fiat Currency Support
The only fiat currency that Upbit supports is the Korean Won(KRW). This can be a turn-off for users wanting to purchase crypto with their country’s currency on Upbit.
Upbit has a Support section on its website where users can find user guides and FAQs for common problems faced by them. If users have a more specific problem that they want to be resolved, they can submit a request on the website or contact customer support via email.
Upbit has a score of 2.6 out of 5 and is rated Poor on Trustpilot with just 8 reviews. While customers like that trades work out really fast on it, they also point out that the number of crypto coins and token pairs available on Upbit is lesser than what some of its competitors have.
Customers like the fast deposit and withdrawal system of Upbit but feel it has a limited number of coins available
Some users, however, have had a negative experience with Upbit. They don’t like the administrative delays and red tape of the exchange and complain about the poor quality of its customer service.
Users complain about Upbit’s poor customer service and underhanded tactics
Some users also point out the unnecessary red tape prevalent on the exchange
Upbit Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to withdraw from Upbit?
On Upbit, it takes about 30-45 minutes for a withdrawal request to be processed. The withdrawal limit differs according to the verification level of the user. The withdrawal fee on Upbit is different for different markets. For example, it is 5 SGD in Singapore which may also vary due to blockchain conditions.
Is Upbit Korean?
Yes, Upbit is a Korean exchange. It was established in South Korea in 2017 and its current CEO Lee Suk-woo is the former chief of the South Korean internet company Kakao Corp. Upbit is the dominant cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea and it is estimated that 80% of the country’s cryptocurrency transactions take place through it.
Who is the Parent Company of Upbit?
Upbit’s parent company is Dunamu which is one of the highest-valued startups in South Korea. It started as a news aggregator in 2012, launched Upbit in 2017, and was valued at $17 billion in 2021 when Hybe, which manages boy band BTS bought a stake in it. In fact, Dunamu’s largest shareholders Song Chi-hyung and Kim Hyoung-nyon are the first people from the crypto industry in South Korea to become billionaires.
How Big is Upbit?
On CoinMarketCap, Upbit is in the 20th rank for spot exchanges. It has a 24-hour trading volume of roughly $1.6 billion and is estimated to have around 273 markets. Partnership with the American exchange Bittrex helped it grow and Upbit had a record one-day trading volume of $11 billion in December 2017, just a few months after its launch.
How can I Deposit in Upbit?
You can deposit cryptocurrency on Upbit by accessing the Withdrawal/Deposit menu after logging into your account. Then select the cryptocurrency you want to deposit and click on Generate New Address. Copy and paste the address to the destination from which you are transferring crypto assets and click on Send after confirming all the details.
The Bottom Line
Upbit is an exchange that has a lot of potentials and is backed by some reliable tech industry players like Kakao. You might want to check it out if you’re based in Southeast Asia. If not, trading on Upbit can be a cumbersome task. In that case, it would be better to go for an exchange that offers its services in your region.