Upbit Challenges Binance and Coinbase to Take a Place in the Top Five Crypto Exchanges

Upbit has a notable amount of dominance, accounting for 80% of South Korea's cryptocurrency trading volumes. Its competitors include international behemoths like Coinbase.

  • In South Korea, Upbit handles 80% of the total volume of cryptocurrency trades.
  • Upbit faces competition from South Korea's stringent regulations.
  • A growing number of South Koreans are interested in cryptocurrencies as they select high-risk, high-reward ventures.


The South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit currently has a position among the top five worldwide exchanges, indicating that the Asian cryptocurrency markets are experiencing a robust resurgence. According to recent market estimates, the USD has been replaced by the Korean Won as the most popular fiat currency for buying and selling Bitcoin and other digital assets.

Upbit's trade and popularity have increased dramatically.

With a large selection of cryptocurrencies listed on the platform that are easily accessible to users, Upbit dominates the cryptocurrency market in South Korea. Upbit's overwhelming dominance in the region is evident by the fact that it alone handles 80% of all cryptocurrency trading volumes in South Korea. This puts Upbit in direct competition with major international companies like Coinbase. However, it appears that leading market participants, such as Binance, are losing market share in Asia.

It's interesting to note that Upbit's growth occurs in spite of increased regulatory actions in South Korea. Last year, nearly 5% of the total deposits made by Upbit's main banking partner were made by its customers, which drew harsh condemnation from a South Korean lawmaker.

Nevertheless, there's a chance that recently passed regulations intended to protect investors following the demise of TerraUSD—a company started by South Korean businessman Do Kwon in 2022—will unintentionally bolster Upbit's commanding market share.

The new regulatory framework requires cryptocurrency exchanges to increase reserves, obtain insurance for investors, and step up their investigation of questionable transactions. As a result, Upbit made the decision to process payments and withdrawals totaling more than $1 million just last week.

Tuesday, April 23, was the date of the decision made earlier this week by Singapore-based Crypto.com to delay its ambitions to go live in South Korea, citing the need for additional time for regulatory consultation.

South Korea's widespread interest in crypto

The $40 billion collapse of the TerraUSD stablecoin notwithstanding, South Korean traders have remained very active in the cryptocurrency market, demonstrating their willingness to take on high-risk, high-reward ventures.

Over 6 million Koreans, or more than 10% of the country's population, traded cryptocurrencies on authorised exchanges during the first half of 2018. As rival candidates in the most recent parliamentary elections promised to delay taxation on digital assets or loosen restrictions on investing in US Bitcoin ETFs, the general public's interest in cryptocurrency has evolved into a political worry in Seoul.

According to data from CryptoQuant, altcoins—smaller tokens than Bitcoin and Ethereum—make up 80% of trading volume on Korean exchanges, a significant difference from the worldwide platforms where they account for about 50% of the volume. Ho Chan Chung, 35, the chief of marketing of the Korean analytics company CryptoQuant, stated:

"I used to invest more in stocks, but now I only invest in cryptocurrencies. The corporations do not work for their shareholders' benefit, and the stock market in Korea has stalled.


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