Korean Market Weekend Update
Korean Official In Charge of Cryptocurrency Policy Passes Away Days After Making Announcement that Brought Encouragement to Markets
This weeks news starts off on an incredibly sad note. Although I am not a fan of governments, and what I see to have been their irresponsible intervention into the markets, this is something I never want to see. Jeong Ki Joon (정기준), the Korean Economic Chief Advisor in charge of dealing with cryptocurrencies passed away in his sleep on the 18th. He was assigned to the position of economic advisor last September, and has since then has been in charge of coordinating policy regarding cryptocurrencies. Just 3 days ago on the 15th he announced the formal government position on cryptocurrencies. Currently his passing seems related to the amount of stress he was dealing with related to his duties. He was 53.
He actually seemed to have been one of the government officials who stepped up and really tried to understand what cryptocurrency was, and see the positive benefits it could bring. Him and others made announcements from the government last week that detailed plans in order to “block illegal activity and maintain transparency in order to foster a healthy environment for blockchain technology.” It is sad to see his passing, and we hope this isn’t a common occurrence in the cryptocurrency space.
Korean Exchanges Made 700 Billion Korean Won, (Appx, 656 Million USD) in 2017. A 87 Times Increase
According to documents released with a government announcement from the majority party in Korea, Korean exchanges saw an increase of 83 times in revenue over the previous year. Upbit alone made nearly 200 billion won (187 million USD)after launching at the end of October. Upbits launch was accompanied by a double in the amount of volume coming out of Korea. Bithumb made 317 billion won (290 million USD), Coinone 78 billion (73 million USD) and Korbit 67 billion. (63 million USD)
These top four exchanges, plus the nearly 30 other exchanges has caused the total revenue of exchanges to exceed over 700 billion won. Comparatively, crypto exchanges in Korea did 3 billion and 8 billion won, (2.8 million and 7.5 million USD)in 2015 and 16 respectively. This sort of news really shows the strength and fervor of Korean markets. It is significant to note that previous to Upbit being launched, Koreans only had access to KRW based pairs, but were still one of the larger markets. With the launching of Upbit, which is actually just a connection to Bittrex that doesn’t actually operate an exchange, Koreans were able to access all sorts of new cryptocurrencies, which obviously furthered their enthusiasm.
The Lunar New Year Effect Trend Continues
Since 2015, the Lunar New Year, one of the biggest holidays in Korea and other eastern countries has always bode well for cryptocurrency. The chart above shows how every year, crypto has fared better after the holiday than before. This began in 2015 prices moved from 235 million won 2,300 USD to 245 million, 2,400 USD, a 23.5% increase. This trend has continued over the past years, and this year seems to have been no exception.
This year has been no exception. With the holiday beginning on the 15th, and technically starting after work ends the 14th, the price has experienced a 25% increase, going from 8500 to 10725 at the time of writing. (Binance) This is in spite of a dip that occured in the last few hours, which have seen a healthy rebound with significant volume. If this trend continues, prices could travel beyond 12,000 by the end of the coming week. But we will have to see.
My opinion on the reason for this is simple. It’s the same as the Thanksgiving effect that we saw send us soaring back in November. People and families meet, and one of the topics that is often discussed is finance, and obviously Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is one of the hottest topics to talk about. Add to that the fact that many of the youth, as in those unmarried receive between 10,000 to 200,000 won (10 to 200 USD) as gifts, this brings a lot of spare cash with which to move the market as well as new interest and speculation.
Sentiment in Korea continues to improve, with significant increases in volume across all exchanges in Korea and the world. Global volume increased 25 percent, from around 400 million USD to 500 million USD over the period. Over half all the transactions that are taking place in non-cryptocurrency pairs ex. BTC/USD, BTC/KRW are being conducted in Korean won. The “Kimchi Premium” is continuing to come back, sitting around 5 percent at the time of writing.
Among forums and news articles, positive sentiment also seems to be increasing. More news articles and government announcements are focused on how to help Korea become a center of blockchain development, and foster a healthy space for all the components of blockchain to grow, including cryptocurrencies. Overall, the market seems very healthy, with some overextending following this latest run, but no trouble in Korea that I can see. Good luck!
2/14 – Sirin Labs Token SRN
2/14 – Worldwide Asset Exchange Token WAX
2/16 – 0x ZRX
2/17 – BlockV Vee
All still under the self-imposed no listing regulation. No news regarding when this will change.
2/14 – Enjin Token ENG
2/11 – Oceanchain OC
2/11 – Beechat
2/14 – Steem, SteemDollar STEEM, SBD