Huobi, the third largest crypto exchange by 24-hour trading volume, is reportedly setting up an office in Brazil. According to reports in Portal du Bitcoin, representatives of Huobi were seen distributing business cards during Bitconf, a major cryptocurrency conference held in São Paulo, Brazil, on May 5-6, 2018.
The Singapore-based exchange has yet to make an an official statement on the matter, but according to Portal do Bitcoin, which broke the news on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, Huobi has already opened an office in the coworking space WeWork in São Paulo. The company also has ads on LinkedIn looking for a Digital Marketing Manager and a Chief Compliance Officer to work out of São Paulo.
Originally founded in Beijing in 2013, Huobi was, at one time, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in China before the country placed an all-out ban on cryptocurrency trading in September 2017. Rather than shutter its business completely, Huobi began a major expansion effort, setting up offices in Singapore, South Korea and elsewhere.
Only weeks ago, Huobi announced plans to open its first Canadian office in Toronto, and earlier this year, despite regulatory uncertainty in the U.S., Huobi also revealed that it was opening a branch in San Francisco to offer crypto-to-crypto trading in the U.S. market.
The firm also attempted to make inroads into Japan. In December 2017, Huobi revealed it intended to launch a trading platform in Japan with Japan-based investment group SBI Holdings. But the deal was scrapped in March 2018 at a time when Japan’s regulators were stepping up oversight on cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.
Now the exchange is headed to Brazil, as Huobi confirmed with CoinDesk. With a population of 210 million, Brazil is home to half the population of South America, representing a huge potential market for Huobi. Meanwhile, competition in the country is sparse. Currently, the biggest crypto exchanges in Brazil include Foxbit, BitcoinTrade and Mercado Bitcoin, which all trade in relatively small volumes compared to Huobi.
And, as far as cryptocurrency regulation goes, Brazil is still a “Wild West.” In December 2017, the country’s central bank and securities regulator went so far as to issue a joint warning to investors that virtual currencies had no official oversight in the country.
Cryptocurrency trading is a lucrative market, and Huobi is not the only major exchange on the move after the Chinese crackdown. In the past few months, Binance and OKEx separately announced plans to expand to the crypto-friendly island nation of Malta. Early this year, Bitfinex said it was planning to set up operations in Switzerland.