• 28 May, 2024
News

XRP Takes the Lead in South Korea’s Crypto Market with UpBit

South Korea’s cryptocurrency market is defying global norms, with XRP emerging as the most traded asset, even surpassing Bitcoin. This trend is substantiated by data from Upbit, one of the nation’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. 

Upbit is regulated by the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), an agency that has recently conducted inspections, resulting in fines and calls for operational improvements. Despite this regulatory environment, Upbit’s market share has surged from below 50% in winter 2020 to 85% by May 2021.

Upbit’s data revealed a distinct trading preference among South Korean traders. The XRP-KRW trading pair led for 70 days, followed by BTC-KRW for 64 days. Interestingly, other tokens like Threshold (T), HIVE, and STEEM also made it to the top spot on Upbit on certain days. This year, more than 75 instruments on Upbit recorded over $1 billion in volume, with all but two being altcoins. ETH-KRW ranks as the 9th most traded instrument on Upbit, trailing behind others like DOGE, SOL, and MASK.

In contrast, Coinbase, a leading U.S.-based exchange, showed a different trading pattern. BTC contributes 36%, and ETH to 22% of the primary trading volumes. Altcoins make up 31%, and stablecoin trading, like USDT-USD, accounts for 10% of the volume. Korean exchanges, notably, have minimal to no trading activity between stablecoins or between stablecoins and fiat currencies.

While Bitcoin remains the largest cryptocurrency by market cap globally, the trading patterns in South Korea are painting a different picture. Here, XRP is the asset of choice for traders, challenging the established global hierarchy in the crypto market.

In terms of overall trading volume, Upbit and Coinbase were closely matched, each recording around $330 billion year-to-date. However, the composition of this volume is markedly different. On Upbit, altcoins dominated, making up a significant portion of the volume, with only 2% coming from ETH and 9% from BTC.

Earlier this year, Upbit recorded a staggering $2.1 billion in XRP trade volume within a 24-hour period, outperforming global competitors like Binance and OKX. This volume not only underscores South Korea’s significant role in Ripple’s recent market performance but also reaffirms the nation’s standing as a powerhouse in the digital currency landscape.

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