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Korean won tops US dollar and leads in crypto trading volume for Q1: Kaiko

Bithumb's market share triples despite a drop in annual revenue.

Korean won coins and trade chart.

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The South Korean Won (KRW) has emerged as the leading currency for crypto trading in the first quarter of 2024, outstripping the US Dollar (USD) in cumulative trade volume, according to a report by research firm Kaiko. This marks the highest trade volume for Korean markets in over two years, achieved in early March. The rise in volume is attributed to the improving macroeconomic environment and intense competition among Korean exchanges.

Korean won tops US dollar and leads in crypto trading volume for Q1: Kaiko

Upbit has maintained its position as the foremost exchange in the South Korean crypto market, commanding an average market share of 82% since early 2021. Despite this dominance, rivals Bithumb and Korbit have escalated competition by implementing zero-fee campaigns towards the end of 2023.

Korbit’s market share remained relatively unchanged, averaging below 1% in 2024. In contrast, Bithumb experienced a threefold increase in market share following its zero-fee policy initiation in October 2023. Nevertheless, Bithumb’s annual revenue saw a 60% decrease in 2023, leading to the termination of the zero-fee campaign on February 5th, a mere five months after its inception.

While KRW trading volumes have seen a downturn in early April, the recent approval of spot BTC and ETH ETFs in Hong Kong is anticipated to positively influence sentiment in the APAC crypto markets.

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