Crypto Trading in Korea Continues, Questions Remain

Korea is a very separate case when it comes to cryptocurrency, with its own troubles and manias.

Cryptocurrency trading in Korea is getting more detached, flying by its own rules. Recently, the news of an upcoming ban rattled the market. CoinMarketCap decided to alter its calculation protocol to exclude prices in Korea, thus for a while scaring investors that a flash crash had happened.

But it turns out, Korean trading is not really affecting the sentiment of other markets. Korean trading mostly serves a very local taste for risk. In the summer months, interest in Bitcoin for a while coincided with the threat of North Korea. 

Russia’s Sberbank Flexes Blockchain Muscles with Dedicated Lab

Later, it turned out that Koreans simply found investing in crypto irresistible, and moved in en masse. In the past, Korean authorities have had other bouts of market mania related to risky assets, thus being extremely anxious on how cryptocurrencies could affect personal finance.

"The latest idea to ban it all seems to have come out of a fear that when the bubble bursts and things go wrong, it will be all on the government," said Yun Chang-hyun, an economics professor at University of Seoul, reported Reuters.

The Korean markets have seen an influx of retail investors, ranging from office workers to students, in search of a fast-growing investment in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Korean exchanges are fast to adopt new coins and allow immediate trading in pairs against fiat. 

But some see the latest price spikes as highly speculative and at a risk of crashing.

For now, there are no further updates on what the Korean government would do with exchanges. Trading continues at a premium to US-based exchanges, and the Korean Won remains the fourth most active fiat currency in trading pairs. 

The matter is becoming politicized, and there are protests that the government should not meddle too much and make honest investors into outlaws.

And while Bitcoin commands higher prices, it is difficult to move assets between exchanges and make use of the difference in trading.