South Korea has emerged as a major player, experiencing a remarkable surge in its virtual asset market during the first half of 2023. In a striking development, the country's crypto market cap skyrocketed to an impressive $21.1 billion.
According to reports from local media outlets, South Korea's Financial Services Commission (FSC) divulged that the nation's crypto market witnessed a staggering 46% increase in market capitalization compared to the previous half-year term.
This meteoric rise in South Korea's crypto market is not an isolated event. The global crypto market, too, underwent substantial growth during the same period, witnessing a remarkable 53% surge in its market cap. Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, played a pivotal role in this growth, experiencing an impressive 81% increase in value. As of June, Bitcoin was valued at $30,441, marking a substantial rise from the end of the previous year.
The surge in market capitalization isn't the only success story emerging from South Korea's crypto landscape. Virtual marketplace operators in the country reported a remarkable 82% increase in operating profits, amassing a total of $168 million during the first half of the year. Furthermore, deposits in these crypto exchanges saw an 11% increase, reaching approximately $3 billion.
The FSC's comprehensive report, encompassing 35 virtual asset operators in the country, including 26 crypto exchanges, revealed some interesting trends. Despite the overall growth in the crypto market, the average daily transaction value at these exchanges dipped slightly, experiencing a 1.3% decrease to $2.1 billion in the January-June period compared to the preceding six months.
Surprisingly, the number of individual and corporate crypto traders in South Korea decreased by 210,000, resulting in a total of 6.06 million traders as of the end of June. Notably, traders in their 30s represented the largest share, with over 67% holding virtual assets valued at less than 500,000 won.
South Korea's crypto market showcased diversity, with the trading of 622 types of cryptocurrencies in the first half of the year. This included popular options like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Dogecoin. During this period, 169 new cryptocurrencies were listed, while 115 coins experienced trading suspensions due to various reasons such as project risks and investor protection.
As South Korea's crypto market continues to flourish, the nation is gearing up to introduce new legislation aimed at protecting crypto investors. Set to take effect in July next year, this legislation empowers authorities to penalize unfair trading practices with potential sentences and fines.