Is South Korea Returning Crypto Boom?

Crypto Boom South Korea 2021
Crypto Boom South Korea 2021

South Korea is credited as one of the main driver of the 2017 crypto boom, with volumes there exploding at the time.

South Korean exchanges used to dominate, first ethereum trading volumes and then most other cryptos in the previous Crypto Boom.

Since then however they’ve taken a backseat, with America thought to have driven the recent bitcoin rise, but there are signs that may be changing.

Trading volumes have exploded in South Korea with Upbit, one of their main crypto exchange, seeing a 1,000% increase from a year earlier.

Their volumes in January 2020 were just 1.6 trillion won ($1.4 billion), but shot up to 3.9 trillion won in November and 7.2 trillion won in December.

In January this year they rose to 18 trillion won, or some $16 billion, with Bithumb likewise seeing an increase from 1.3 trillion won to 12 trillion won as of December.

There’s long been speculation on what is driving this oversided adoption in South Korea, with one suggestion being they like robots and electronics and cryptos are of course the bot’s money.

Another reason may be China. The initial spike in South Korea coincided with China closing their crypto exchanges in 2017.

Much of that trading may have moved to South Korea, a neighbor, although there has been no evidence of it besides the timing coincidence.

It may therefore perhaps be due to their capital controls which can add red tape to international trade, with cryptos generally seen as a far more convenient means of exchanging globally.

Or of course, it could be that they just like this new advanced innovation, and after a four years long holiday, they appear to be very much back.