Dec 7, 2023

CoinDesk's executive director of global content Emily Parker takes a closer look into the daily crypto trading volume on South Korean exchanges and what it means for bitcoin's (BTC) latest rally, as the largest cryptocurrency by market cap has climbed nearly 25% in the past month.

Video transcript

Price of Bitcoin has risen nearly 25% in the past month. And it seems crypto traders in South Korea could be playing a bigger role in the recent rally. Joining us now is Coindesk, executive Director of Global Content, Emily Parker. Emily, we miss you. Hi Jen, miss, you too. Hi, Lawrence, miss, you too. Thank you, miss you too, of course. All right, Evan Lee, talk to us about uh what's going on in the Korean market. What are some of the recent market trends we're seeing? Sure. So Korea is always a really important player in crypto. I think it doesn't get enough attention considering how important it is, but there's just been a few interesting trends recently that seem that the recent kind of rally and the recent, you know, they have a lot of people are saying crypto winter is finally over. Um Korea is a big part of that. Korea is an important player and you know, we've seen a few interesting data points about uh Korea playing an important part in this, I mean, one was this recent data point from CC data that was also reported by Bloomberg saying that the one recently overtook the dollar as the largest fiat trading pair, which is obviously very interesting. But I think, yeah, we're also seeing an very important trend of Korean retail traders pushing up the price of various all coins, those Korean retail traders from what I remember, it used to be that the Korean housewives trading on their apps uh playing around in in crypto uh from what I remember uh is that still the case where, where, who are these retail traders or are there any institutions involved as well? OK. So the institutional question is really interesting. Um The Korean market, the Korean crypto exchange market is basically retail, it's a retail spot market. Um It's not that there's like a specific law that restricts institutional trading. But yes, it's a largely retail market. And I think this is a really interesting point because um it's so big even though it's only retail, right? So like imagine what would happen if institutions got into the game. But yes, what we are seeing is retail trading. That's what this is. And do we know anything about those retail traders? I mean, is it, is it hobbyist? Is it like, do we know any anything at all yet? I'd have to look more closely at the data they give you like less than an anecdotal answer to that question. Let, let's talk about these alt coins and the significance in the Korean market. What alt coins are we seeing? The Korean retail traders uh interested in right now. Yeah. So I mean, this is something we've talked about before on the show and something that I think is really worth paying attention to that occasionally you'll see the world will see a surge in a specific coin. For example, we saw this with XRP. I remember we talked about this quite a lot and at first it's like, wait, what's going on with XRP? Why is it surging? Did something specific happen with XRP? And then you look at Korean exchange data and you realize that Korea is a big source for this surge. So this is not, this has been the case with various coins in the past, but there's charts that I want to just quickly pull up. So the first one just shows kind of how, you know, a lot of the retail trading energy in the Korean market is not based on Bitcoin and Ethereum only. You can see that there's um I don't know if we can pull that chart up real quick if we can, if we can see how much other coins other than Bitcoin and Ethereum have been playing a role in that. And then secondly, yeah, that, that one right there, that's by um Ko looking at daily trade volume on Korean exchanges. And again, and you can see a lot of action outside of Bitcoin and Ethereum. So, you know, all coins are a big part of sort of Korean trading culture. But I want to actually look at one other chart which looks specifically at blur. So I just want to quickly shout out to our friends at Dread that provided this chart and have been very helpful in analyzing the Korean market. But this is a chart showing Korea at the forefront of blur trading. Now, just to be clear, this is just one example of kind of the dominance of Korean retail traders in a specific token. And you know, I asked dread specifically why they think blur is surging like that. They said that the answers that they provided were basically that it has to do with the announcement of blur's blast project along with the announcement of the third staking program for the airdrop. But again, that doesn't really explain why Korea specifically is so enthusiastic about blur. But again, you can see why um Korea is so important in this in, in sort of the movement of the specific token. I I thought they were, they were enthusiastic about the nineties brit pop band blur. But OK, the um what, what is ultimately getting people in Korea? All the retail trader excited all of a sudden, what's bringing them to market? Has there been any regulatory changes specifically that you could pinpoint and say that's it, that's what caused it? No, a very simple answer. So I don't, I don't think the Korean regulatory environment is complicated and it sort of depends, there's different there's different opinions on it. Um, it's somewhere I wouldn't say it's extremely friendly. I wouldn't say it's extremely unfriendly and I would not say that the, the surge is due to, um, some recent regulatory change. I think it's just due to the fact that there is just such strong retail interest in the Korean crypto market. Um, and that's what's, what's, what's, what's, what's pushing this. So it's basically, I think we're seeing just a reflection of the overall global trend, this kind of, you know, which, which coin desk has written about the, the FOMO trend, the YOLO trend, you know, the, the idea that crypto winter is, is finally yielding to, to Crypto Spring. I think Korean retails are just retail traders are just getting in on that action. But no, I don't think there's been any significant recent regulatory change that would, that would explain what we're seeing on these charts. All right, Emily, we are gonna have to leave it there. Thank you for joining us and unpacking the significance of the Korean markets in this recent rally. And hopefully we will see you again.

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