South Korean crypto startup Bithumb is launching an “exchange-as-a-service” platform based on its new blockchain.
Announced Wednesday, the exchange said Bithumb Chain will allow users and developers to build decentralized finance (DeFi) applications on the open source blockchain network, which it hopes will act as the backbone to a new financial ecosystem.
The company is currently building out the network, with a testnet set to go live before the end of the year and a mainnet launch anticipated sometime next quarter.
Javier Sim, co-founder and managing director of Bithumb Global, told CoinDesk that the new blockchain will feature a “revolutionary consensus model,” referring to what the press release described as an OBFT hybrid consensus mechanism. However, he declined to share further details.
Bithumb representatives further told CoinDesk that the company is pursuing a patent around the mechanism, though the plan is to fully open-source the code prior to 2020. They did say that the consensus algorithm would utilize “verifiable random function,” likening it to Algorand’s protocol, and Byzantine Fault Tolerance.
VRF is a system where a function verifies its own output publicly, while BFT refers to the Byzantine generals’ problem, in which one must reach consensus among disparate actors operating in a trustless environment. BFT ensures that the system will continue working – even if some of the actors are working against it.
With Bithumb Chain, the company seeks to capitalize on their as-of-yet-unknown protocols with a variety of services, including exchange-as-a-service, which would allow users to set up their own decentralized exchange.
Bithumb Chain could compete with other crypto exchanges’ custom chains, Sim said. Binance Chain, Binance’s own public blockchain, launched in April 2019, and is now home to its BNB token and Binance DEX, a decentralized exchange.
Bithumb’s news comes days after The Korea Times reported that entertainment group IOK is moving to acquire a major stake in the exchange. IOK is looking to convert a bond in Bithumb’s largest shareholder, Vidante, by next year.