South Korea’s Bitcoin Kimchi Premium hits new peaks


  • Bitcoin’s price has recovered significantly, surpassing $66,000 after a recent pullback.
  • South Korea’s ‘Kimchi premium’ on Bitcoin has reached its highest level in two years.
  • The increase in the Kimchi premium indicates a strong resurgence of Korean retail investors in the cryptocurrency market.

Bitcoin (BTC) has witnessed a significant price recovery, surpassing the $66,000 mark after a brief pullback. This resurgence is mirrored by a notable increase in the ‘Kimchi premium’ in South Korea, which has achieved its highest level in two years. The term ‘Kimchi premium’ refers to the difference in the price of cryptocurrency assets, particularly Bitcoin, between South Korean exchanges and those in other countries. This phenomenon highlights the unique market dynamics and investor sentiment within the South Korean cryptocurrency landscape.

Resurgence of retail investors and the price premium

CryptoQuant, a leading provider of on-chain data, reported a significant uptick in the Korea Premium index, marking an increase from 5.19 on February 28 to 6.84 on March 5. This rise in the Kimchi premium aligns with Bitcoin’s price trajectory, which saw the cryptocurrency reaching a new all-time high of over $69,200 on March 5. According to Ki Young Ju, CEO of CryptoQuant, the increase in the Kimchi premium is indicative of a strong resurgence of Korean retail investors in the cryptocurrency market. This renewed interest and confidence among local traders have been a driving factor in the upward price movement on Korean exchanges.

The premium has historically been a signal of heightened demand and limited accessibility to cryptocurrencies in South Korea compared to international markets. During the bullish market phases of December 2017 and May 2021, the premium reached near 50% and 21.56%, respectively, showcasing the intense speculative activity and retail frenzy in the region.

South Korea debates legalizing Bitcoin spot ETFs

South Korea’s approach to cryptocurrency regulation, especially concerning Bitcoin ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds), is currently under scrutiny. Unlike the United States, where investments in Bitcoin ETFs have been gaining momentum, South Korea has yet to introduce Bitcoin ETFs, resulting in a market-driven predominantly by retail spot buying. However, recent discussions have emerged regarding the legalization of Bitcoin Spot ETFs, with Lee Bok-hyun, governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, acknowledging ongoing deliberations on this matter in a radio interview.

The classification of Bitcoin as an underlying asset poses a significant concern for South Korean regulators. Despite financial authorities stating in January that there were no immediate plans to regulate Bitcoin ETFs, the sale of spot Bitcoin ETFs by brokerages has prompted questions under the Capital Markets Act. The consideration of Bitcoin Spot ETFs highlights the evolving regulatory framework in South Korea and its potential impact on market dynamics and investor access to cryptocurrency assets.

The significant rise in the Kimchi premium is a clear indicator of the growing enthusiasm and participation of retail investors in South Korea’s cryptocurrency market. With discussions around regulatory adjustments and the potential introduction of Bitcoin ETFs, the landscape for cryptocurrencies in South Korea is poised for further evolution. As the market continues to mature, the interplay between regulatory developments, investor sentiment, and market dynamics will be crucial in shaping the future of cryptocurrency trading in the region.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Mutuma Maxwell

Maxwell especially enjoys penning pieces about blockchain and cryptocurrency. He started his venture into blogging in 2020, later focusing on the world of cryptocurrencies. His life's work is to introduce the concept of decentralization to people worldwide.

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