S Korean crypto trading volume nearly twice that of its 2 biggest stock markets combined

The four largest cryptocurrency exchanges in S Korea amassed a combined trading volume of nearly 45 trillion won. This is compared with a combined 24 trillion won traded on the country’s two traditional stock markets. 

A story on the Korea Herald, just released this morning, highlights that in the 24 hours until Friday morning, the four largest exchanges in Korea made trades equal to 44.97 trillion won ($40 billion). 

This figure included 39.38 trillion won from Upbit alone, Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. 

The transaction volume on these cryptocurrency exchanges far exceeded that of the two Korean stock exchanges. Kospi, the largest Korean stock exchange, recorded a transaction volume of 16.62 trillion won, while Korea’s other stock exchange, Kosdaq, did 7.4 trillion won. 

There is a frenzy of interest in cryptocurrencies in South Korea, especially among younger people, attracted by the far more lucrative returns in this market. The current spike in interest is more for altcoins, as Bitcoin continues to make sideways progress. 

Popularity in altcoins seems to be far higher in Korea than elsewhere. Whilst Bitcoin trading accounted for 40% of transactions in exchanges globally, in S Korea this figure was as low as 7% over the same period. 

This could appear to denote that South Koreans are looking to take far greater risks than investors abroad. It could also mean though that they are taking advantage of the lack of impetus from Bitcoin, to extract value from the altcoins. 

All the added interest in cryptocurrencies in S Korea will have fuelled the “Kimchi Premium”, referring to the higher price of cryptocurrencies in S Korea compared with the rest of the world. 

According to the Korea Herald: 

“The Kimchi Premium was as high as 20 percent last month. While one Bitcoin was sold at 81 million won on Bithumb on April 14, for instance, the same amount was traded at 71 million won on global exchange Binance.  Upbit, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country, issued warnings on its trading platform as the price difference between Upbit and the global market exceeded 5 percent.” 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. 

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