While it may have global ambitions, at heart, UpBit remains a South Korean exchange. According to Similarweb , the country currently accounts for over 98% of web traffic to the upbit.com domain, and the platform takes a healthy share of the market for South Korean cryptocurrency trading services.
In fact, an UpBit listing can expose a token to millions of South Korean users, significantly boosting demand. In the latest instance of the phenomenon, the Mina token (MINA) has surged by as much as 90%, hitting its highest price since April.
Having traded flat for the previous week, after UpBit announced that it would list the MINA-KRY trading pair on Tuesday, October 24, the cryptocurrency climbed from around $0.40 to highs of $0.78, clocking a 24-hour increase of over 90% at its peak.
While Upbit made its announcement late Monday (UTC), the token’s rally really kicked off on Tuesday morning, when its price increased by 56% in just 4 hours.
Even more remarkably, Mina’s 24-hour trading volume has increased by over 2400%, with activity across multiple crypto and fiat trading pairs apparently boosted by the UpBit announcement.
While UpBit’s move to allow users to buy Mina with Korean won has certainly helped fuel an influx of fresh capital into the token, other factors have also contributed to its recent gains.
Significantly, the UpBit announcement coincided with a generally exuberant crypto market, which has seen nearly all major tokens lifted by Bitcoin’s overnight price jump.
Moreover, rising interest in zero-knowledge blockchain solutions has helped put Mina on the map, where the platform’s lightweight, privacy-focused design could help it stand out from the crowd.
Ultimately, while Mina may have been primed to pump, UpBit provided the catalyst for its sudden rally, and the listing’s success points to the significant influence South Korean consumers now have on the global crypto market.
On the one hand, an influx of new UpBit users has helped to increase demand for the token. On the other, global investors operating across different crypto and fiat markets have also responded positively to the news, with trading volumes up across the board.
In fact, South Korean consumers’ interest in cryptocurrency surpasses that among many of its regional neighbors. For example, research by Chainalysis found that 6.1% of the country’s crypto transactions were valued at less than $10,000, higher than the global average and indicating an active cohort of retail investors.
In contrast, just 3% of Hong Kong’s transaction volume stems from retail investors, with large institutional actors accounting for the bulk of the territory’s trading activity.
South Koreans’ affinity with digital assets is further demonstrated by a recent KuCoin report which found that 26% of the country’s internet users aged 18 to 60 own crypto or have invested in crypto in the past six months.
Thanks to the nation’s active community of retail crypto traders, two South Korean exchanges, UpBit and Bithumb, now place in the top 15 global crypto exchanges by daily trade volume, presenting an opportunity for modest market cap alt coins like Mina to expand their global reach and appeal to new investors.