Koreans Trade More Cryptocurrencies Than Americans

  • By Kim Shin-young

    May 07, 2021 08:41

    Korea has more small cryptocurrency exchanges than the U.S. or Japan and more highly volatile types of cyber money are traded here.

    A total of 178 cryptocurrencies are traded on UPbit, Korea's largest cyber money exchange, and second-ranked Bithumb trades 170 types. In contrast, the top U.S. cyber currency exchange, Coinbase, trades only 58 cryptocurrencies, and Japan's No. 1 exchange bitFlyer handles only five, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.

    In all of Japan's cryptocurrency exchanges, only 29 types of cyber money are traded.

    Experts blame Korea's lax rules for triggering frenzied speculation. Choi Gong-pil at the Korea Institute of Finance said, "The present cryptocurrency market has no transparent standards, and many transactions are being made solely based on agreements between issuers and exchanges, which creates a very risky environment for investors."

    A major hacking incident targeting the Mt. Gox exchange in Japan in 2014 prompted both financial authorities there to come up with supervisory guidelines that ended up cooling speculative trading.

    Coinbase also applies strict guidelines for security and transparency. But a hacking incident in Korea that led to the tens of billions in losses in 2017 did not prompt any reflection or guidelines.

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