If there’s one thing you couldn’t get away from in 2017, it was cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin Price Rise
The digital coin is up 1,300% year-to-date as global popularity for bitcoin surges.
According to Bloomberg, nowhere is bitcoin more popular than in South Korea.
‘Like thousands of South Koreans, Moonsung Bae is infatuated by bitcoin.
‘The 35-year-old financial analyst got his first taste a year ago, before the cryptocurrency exploded into one of the wildest investment stories of our time, and by the end of last month his personal holdings had swelled to half his liquid assets.
‘“I had this fear when I first bought,” Bae said. “But then I realized, oh, it actually works.”
‘It’s certainly worked, at least so far, for those who got in early and rode the speculative wave that pushed the cryptocurrency above $13,000 on Thursday. But where bitcoin and its ilk go from here is the subject of fierce debate, nowhere more so than in Korea, which has emerged as a sort of ground zero for the global crypto-mania.
‘So many Koreans have embraced bitcoin that the prime minister recently warned that cryptocurrencies might corrupt the nation’s youth. The craze has spread so far that, in Korea, bitcoin is trading at a premium of about 23 percent over prevailing international rates.’
Growing Bitcoin Mania
South Korean policy makers are now worried about this growing mania. It’s why the country’s top financial watch dog, said it had grave concerns about speculative buying.
But why has bitcoin had such an effect in South Korea?
‘There’s no definitive explanation for why bitcoin has grown so popular in Korea, but local analysts point to a mix of geopolitical and cultural factors.
‘Bitcoin’s stateless status appeals to some Koreans who’ve grown wary of keeping their savings in a country that shares a border with Kim Jong Un’s increasingly belligerent regime in North Korea, according to Kwak Keumjoo, professor of psychology at Seoul National University.’
Junior Analyst, Money Morning
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