Cryptocurrency adoption and trends in South Korea in 2022
of South Koreans
It is estimated that 2 million people, 3.9% of South Korea’s total population, currently own cryptocurrency.
South Korea has long been labelled the crypto hotspot of Asia. Home to exchange giants like Upbit, BitHumb, CoinOne, Korbit, and Gopax, South Korea first experience its boost in crypto popularity in 2017. Nearly up to 30% of all crypto trading worldwide is powered within the Korean market. Currently it is legal to own, sell and buy crypto assets in the country as crypto assets have not been legalised as official tender by the South Korean government.
Furthermore, South Korea seems to be on the right trajectory of consolidating its dominance as the crypto hub of Asia as seen in the recent presidential election, whereby they elected Yoon Suk-yeol, a pro-crypto politician. Pro-crypto laws and policies are currently in motion, such as the proposal for more favourable tax laws and the potential return of ICOs/IEOS.
As of 2021, it is estimated that 54% of the crypto users in South Korea are male, and 46% are female.
According to a Forkast report, 31% of South Korean investors are in their 30s, 27% are in their 40s, and a quarter of them are in their 20s
The average South Korean trader increased their crypto holdings by 64.2% in 2018, investing more than $6000 on average, a two-fold increase from the last survey.
Cryptocurrencies are popular investments among South Korea’s young generation who see them as a path to prosperity in a context of persistently high unemployment. South Korea has long been an early adopter of new technology, and the culture is such that people are quick to embrace new technological innovations and opportunities. Cryptocurrencies are stateless investments that appeal to South Korean investors wary of the political climate and their proximity to the threat posed by North Korea.
“For young Koreans, cryptocurrency seems like a rare shot at prosperity,” an article on the online publication The Verge states. The same article quotes a 20-something journalist who opines that cryptocurrency investments are also a means for a largely homogenous and well-educated workforce to distinguish themselves from peers.