The bitcoin price has achieved a new all-time high for the second time this week at $8,668, with strong momentum led by Japan and South Korea.
Over the past few days, the two largest bitcoin markets demonstrated trades with significantly high premiums. Yesterday, on November 24, CCN reported that South Korean investors traded bitcoin with a $300 premium.
South Korea and Japan Leading Momentum
In South Korea, bitcoin is still being traded with a high premium of around $200. At the time of reporting, traders on South Korea’s Bithumb, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, are trading bitcoin at a price of $8,780, nearly $200 higher than the average global price.
Earlier today, CCN revealed that Shinhan, South Korea’s second largest commercial bank with major influence over the South Korean finance sector, has begun the testing of its bitcoin vault and wallet services, which will be offered to its clients by mid-2018.
In an official statement provided to Naver, a Shinhan representative said:
“Shinhan is testing a virtual bitcoin vault platform wherein the private keys of bitcoin addresses and wallets are managed and issued by the bank. The bank intends to provide the vault service for free and charge a fee for withdrawals.”
The integration of bitcoin by a major commercial bank in South Korea will likely lead to the imposition of regulatory frameworks by local financial authorities on bitcoin and cryptocurrency businesses, which will further increase the demand for bitcoin from the traditional finance industry.
Currently, the bitcoin exchange market remains unregulated in South Korea and exchanges are operating without having to comply with strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies. If the government introduces regulations for bitcoin in the mid-term, more institutional money will flow into the South Korean bitcoin market.
In Japan, investors are also investing in bitcoin with around $200 premium. Leading exchanges such as BitFlyer with 800,000 active users are processing bitcoin trades at around $8,800.
Entrance of Banks is Triggering More Demand For Bitcoin
The entrance of large-scale banks and financial institutions such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Investments, CME, CBOE, Shinhan, and Man Group have further triggered the demand for bitcoin from both the traditional finance sector and general consumers.
Even for a $350 billion bank like JPMorgan, the failure to adopt bitcoin and offer services around it will ultimately lead customers and clients to move to other financial institutions that do provide platforms to invest in bitcoin. Hence, an increasing number of banks have started to engage in bitcoin trading, mostly due to FOMO (fear of missing out) and competition.
Until December, analysts expect the price of bitcoin to continue its upward trend, as billions of institutional money flow into the bitcoin market.
As Bitfury vice chairman George Kikvadze stated:
“One of the [institutional] investors: ‘Entering Bitcoin investment at $100 billion much much easier than at $10 Billion.”