The Korean Premium For Bitcoin Seems Less Outspoken in 2020

The cryptocurrency is home to peculiar trends that come and go. One such facet is the Korean premium that traders pay to acquire Bitcoin and select altcoins. Contrary to what some may believe, that premium still exists to some extent. 

The Korean Premium Still Exists

When it comes to Bitcoin and altcoins, peculiar aspects tend to become more outspoken in certain regions. Most Bitcoiners know about the “Chinese Premium” of many years ago. It is a simple concept: traders in China would pay more for Bitcoin than the global market price. There has been ample speculation about what this means and how it affects the cryptocurrency appeal in that country. 

A similar situation exists in South Korea. Known as the Korean Premium, it is the price traders pay to acquire cryptocurrencies. This aspect tends to gain fame when the Bitcoin market goes through a bullish spell. As such, there are a few who wonder if that premium price still exists in South Korea today. 


BlocDesk Korean Premium Bitcoin
Source: CryptoQuant

The answer to that question is not a simple yes or no. There are times when a Korean premium affects the market. However, it occurs when the value of Bitcoin is lower, rather than when it rises. As the chart confirms, the Korean premium is no longer in effect for several weeks now. Strange, considering how the value of Bitcoin is still rising. 

When Bitcoin has a lower value, the price in South Korea seems to be much higher on domestic exchanges. A more significant price gap means a higher premium price on these platforms. It is not as outspoken as in past times, but the concept still lives on today. Currently, the price gap between regular exchange and their Korean counterparts is minimal. 

The Current State of South Korean Exchanges

Several factors may be at play as to why the Korean premium is less outspoken today. On the one hand, there is a potential decrease in overall trading volume. More specifically, this pertains to the normalized value per CoinGecko. It is not always the same as what exchanges report for volume, but the normalized value is often a correct representation. 

BlocDesk South Korean Exchanges Volume
Source: CoinGecko

Currently, Upbit has the most trading volume in South Korea. It is ahead of Bithumb by a landslide. Besides these two platforms, no other exchange generates over $100 million in 24-hour trading volume. A surprising observation, yet it confirms why there is no Korean premium to speak of today. 

It is also interesting to note the number of tradable coins on Korean exchanges. Huobi Korea leads the pack with 240 coins. That is nearly 30% more than Upbit, and almost double the coins of Coinone. An intriguing aspect worth keeping tabs on for the future.