Upbit trading volume falls below $4 billion after hitting a yearly high in March

The 24-hour trading volume on Upbit, one of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, fell to $3.8 billion in early April after hitting a high in early March. On March 5, Upbit recorded a daily trading volume of nearly $15 billion, marking the exchange’s highest trading volume this year.

The rise in daily trading volume on the cryptocurrency exchange can be attributed to Bitcoin hitting a new record high of $69,200 on the same day.

The excitement was primarily due to a large influx of new spot bitcoin ETFs (BTC exchange traded funds in the US).

While Bitcoin was trading below $70,000 in the rest of the world, the digital asset hit a new record high of 96,734,000 South Korean won (about $72,504) on Upbit around 3 p.m. worldwide coordinated time on March 5.

This may have played a role in the increase in daily trading volume on the exchange on March 5.

This price difference in South Korea compared to the rest of the world is commonly referred to as the “kimchi premium.” The Kimchi premium is named after the country’s famous fermented side dish. It reflects the disparity between BTC prices on Korean crypto trading platforms and international crypto exchanges.

The surge didn’t last long: on March 31, the daily trading volume on the exchange fell to $2.6 billion.

Daily chart of trading volume on the Upbit exchange. Source: CoinGecko

According to coin tracker CoinGecko, Upbit’s current 24-hour trading volume as of April 1 is $3.8 billion.

In 2023, Upbit’s parent company reported an 81% drop in net income. On Nov. 28, Upbit’s owner, Dunamu, reported a profit of $23 million, well below the same period in 2022 when it earned about $123 million.

The company said the decline in profits could be attributed to a “sluggish investment market” caused by the economic downturn. It also cited declining digital asset prices as one of the reasons for the drop in profits.

Despite Dunamu’s 2023 profit drop, Upbit has continued its efforts to expand its business. On January 9, the exchange received a major payment institution license from Singapore’s central bank. This allows the company to offer cryptocurrency and fiat services in Singapore.


Коля Мельниченко

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