Conservative Japanese and South Korean Investors are Turning to Bitcoin

Conservative traders and investors in Japanese and South Korean financial markets are turning toward bitcoin, investing in it as a safe haven asset, long-term investment, and a robust store of value.

Japan and South Korea are New Crypto Powerhouses

According to bitcoin and cryptocurrency market data providers such as CryptoCompare, the Japanese bitcoin exchange market accounts for over 64 percent of global bitcoin trades. That is, a daily bitcoin trading volume that is three times larger than the US, the second largest bitcoin market in the world.

South Korea accounts for just less than 10 percent of global bitcoin trades. But, it is the largest Ethereum exchange market and operates the second biggest cryptocurrency trading platform in Bithumb, which has consistently recorded at least $430 million in daily trading volume. The Bithumb team revealed that in its peak in September, it had processed over $2.5 billion in cryptocurrency trades, more than of the daily trading volume of the entire cryptocurrency market.

South Korea’s Bithumb surpassed $2.5 billion in daily trading volume, more than 50% of cryptocurrency market daily trading volume.#bitcoin

— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) September 28, 2017

In an interview with Nathaniel Popper of the New York Times earlier this month, Yuzo Kano, the CEO of bitFlyer, Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange with over 800,000 active traders, stated that the Japanese investment community and general consumer base are usually extremely conservative toward new asset classes. But, he emphasized that once the demand is demonstrated by the market, investors tend to go all-in.

“Japanese people tend to be very conservative with their investments, but once they get triggered they go all in,” said Kano.

Tony Lyu, the founder and CEO at Korbit, South Korea’s third biggest cryptocurrency exchange which was recently acquired by NXC, the holding company of the $10 billion Japanese gaming company Nexon, at a valuation of $140 million, shared a similar sentiment with Kano. Lyu stated that when the demand and interest for new asset classes like bitcoin and cryptocurrencies rise to a certain point, everyone in the industry tend to gear toward investing in the new asset, which in this case is bitcoin.

“Word just spreads really fast in Korea. Once people are invested, they want everyone else to join the party. There’s been this huge, almost a community movement around this,” said Lyu.

Smart Regulations Will Allow Both Countries to Remain as Major Cryptocurrency Markets

The Japanese government has acknowledged bitcoin as a legal currency and a payment method since early 2017. In contrast to other regions, Japan and its authorities have created an efficient, secure, and friendly ecosystem for both investors and businesses in the cryptocurrency sector. Recently, upon the imposition of a national licensing program for cryptocurrency exchanges by the Japanese government, it was revealed that Remixpoint, a leading energy provider in Japan, has been operating its own bitcoin exchange Bitpoint to facilitate payments for the company.

In South Korea, most cryptocurrency exchanges are backed by large-scale conglomerates that have dominated their respective industries for decades. Korbit is backed by gaming giant Nexon and South Korea’s largest telecommunications corporation SKT, and Bithumb is funded by mobile commerce conglomerate Omnitel, which acquired a 9 percent stake in the exchange last year.

The backing of cryptocurrency exchanges by major investment firms like Soft Bank will create a viable platform for the Japanese and South Korean cryptocurrency exchange markets to be at the forefront of the global cryptocurrency market.

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