The interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency technology within South Korea is exponentially increasing. With Bithumb and Upbit reportedly processing more than $1.5 billion of volume every day, it’s no wonder public participation within IEOs are taking off.
The ICO Craze
During 2017, speculative interest for cryptocurrency ICOs great massively. It was reported that the South Korean Won processed the third-highest volume of Bitcoin transactions behind the dollar and yen. Moreover, ICOs began to launch in large numbers within the region. Blockchain OS issued the country’s very first initial coin offering in May, 2017, finishing in 9 minutes for 6,900 BTC.
This volume and interest subsequently attracted a huge amount of retail attention. As a result, future ICOs, such as ICON, raised $35 million in September of that year. But it wasn’t just Korean-based crypto fundraisers that were attracting attention. Many market participants would comment on waiting for Korea to ‘wake up’ within the 24-hour market cycle, in the hope that they would continue enthusiastically buying to the bullish exuberance of 2017.
Some research even suggests that the country’s citizens were responsible for a third of all bitcoin trades by the end of 2017, accounting for as much as 17 percent of all Ethereum trades within the cryptocurrency markets.
This led to huge Kimchi premiums (sometimes as much as 30-50% above the global ether average), as well as an 11% fall in the price of bitcoin after the South Korean commission prohibited cryptocurrency exchanges issuing new trading accounts in December 2017.
Old Craze, New Name?
But ICOs are now behind the industry, and retail confidence remains stubbornly skeptical. Surely IEOs (initial exchange offerings) won’t receive the same level of attention?
As a result of declining fundraising initial coin offering models, IEOs are now being pursued with vigor. News of Bitfinex launching their own IEO token (LEO) and raising a staggering $1 billion in private sales has signaled the old-but-new exchange token listing is just getting started.
A slew of Binance Launchpad IEOs, notably FETCH, BitTorrent, Harmony, Matic and Celer have all posted incredible returns. Matic, for example, gave early market entrant investors more than 10x on their holdings in less than a month. Moreover, all signs point to this IEO trend increasing, with Huobi Prime, KuCoin Spotlight, Bittrex IEO and others all offering this listing service.
With articles such as ‘How to Launch Your IEO – Full Guide’ surfacing, it’s only a matter of time before the ICOs of 2017 are forgotten, and the pain of post-exuberance will be replaced by euphoric 10-100x token pump chasing. If history has any lessons for cryptocurrency speculators, it’s that monetary interest never really goes away, and due diligence will again be brushed aside for the next digital token rush.
Now exchanges have a vested interest in the success of these tokens, 2017’s South Korean Kimchi premiums may soon become a quaint statistic of the past.