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South Korean Won Surpasses US Dollar in Crypto Trading Volume for Q1 2024

The South Korean Won, now the leading fiat currency in global cryptocurrency markets for Q1 2024.

Wed, 17 Apr 2024, 09:56 am UTC

The South Korean Won has eclipsed the US Dollar as the leading currency in cryptocurrency trading, achieving a record $456 billion in transactions during the first quarter of 2024, as fierce competition among local exchanges intensifies.

Fee Wars Propel South Korean Won to Top Spot in Global Crypto Trading

The South Korean Won (KRW) has surpassed the US Dollar (USD) regarding trading volume against cryptocurrencies. According to research by financial analytics firm Kaiko, transactions involving the Won on centralized cryptocurrency exchanges totaled $456 billion in the first quarter of 2024. This slightly edges out the trading volume of the US dollar, which was roughly $455 billion, per CoinGape.

This increase in trading volume has been ascribed to a competitive climate in South Korean crypto exchanges, where a "fee war" has emerged. This competition has significantly increased trading activity, with Won now at the top of the world's fiat currencies in the crypto market.

Strategic Fee Cuts Drive Trading Surge, Shaping the Won's Rise Amid Global Crypto Shifts

One element leading to Won's appreciation is the increasing competitiveness among South Korean exchanges. Major industry players, including Upbit, Bithumb, and Korbit, have used aggressive techniques to entice traders, such as introducing zero-fee trading periods.

Although such techniques have resulted in significant increases in trade volumes, they have also had an impact on the platforms' cash flows. For example, Bithumb's annual profits fell by 60% in 2023 due to its zero-fee policy, which was reversed in early February 2024 after only five months of introduction.

Despite these financial issues, the fee wars appear to be working, as market activity has increased to levels not seen in more than two years. Trading volume peaked in early March 2024 owing to a more favorable macroeconomic situation and more market rivalry.

The Korean won's dominance in cryptocurrency trading comes at a time when the crypto sector is undergoing significant worldwide changes. The Hong Kong financial regulator's recent approval for three spot Bitcoin and Ether ETFs will likely boost market sentiment in the Asia Pacific. These ETFs, listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, can potentially boost Won's trading activity.

Furthermore, the cryptocurrency market continues to be influenced by regulatory activities in the United States, with the Securities and Exchange Commission keeping a closer eye on companies like Uniswap Labs. Regulatory moves tend to affect market dynamics and investor mood globally and may, thus, cause changes in trading volumes across different fiat and crypto pairs.

Korean Won Leads as Crypto Traders Seek Alternatives Amid Global Regulatory Changes

As the second quarter of 2024 begins, market analysts will examine the impact of regulatory developments and how they interact with market dynamics. The Korean Won's dominant position in cryptocurrency trading volume reflects a broader trend of diversification in the global crypto industry. Traders and investors are rapidly turning away from traditional havens like the US dollar and toward other fiat currencies that provide competitive benefits like reduced fees or higher market liquidity.

The outcome of the fee battle among South Korean exchanges will also be critical. If these platforms balance increasing volume and maintaining profits, the Korean Won will remain the leading currency against the US Dollar in the crypto trading market. As the sector matures, the strategies used by these exchanges will serve as a model for other regions looking to improve their place in the Bitcoin market.

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