In the last month, there has been a notable increase in crypto trading in South Korea. Kaiko’s latest analysis reveals a substantial surge in Bithumb’s Bitcoin volume, even though zero-fee trading was introduced several months ago.
The trading volume of the flagship crypto asset on the platform appears to be approaching a whopping $3 billion.
Bithumb’s Bitcoin Dominates January Trading
Bithumb took a strategic initiative by becoming the first major Korean exchange to eliminate all transaction fees. This move was seen as an effort by the firm to significantly expand its market presence in a domestic landscape largely dominated by Upbit. Bithumb had previously charged trading fees ranging from 0.04% to 0.25%. The implementation of the zero-fee policy for all supported digital assets began in October last year.
This decision is particularly noteworthy as the exchange essentially relinquished its primary source of revenue. Additionally, Bithumb reported an operating loss of 3.4 billion won ($2.5 million) in the second quarter of that year. It is evident that the platform prioritized expanding its customer base over revenue collection, especially in light of its consistently declining earnings. The new policy immediately drew the attention of investors.
While the crypto exchange did manage to increase its market share for a brief period, it eventually reverted to its pre-policy level. After a slight decline, Upbit’s trading volume rebounded, and by the end of the year, the platform still maintained an 80% market share.
However, the latest data suggest that Bithumb has upped its game, soaring way above Upbit in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. In January, Bithumb’s Bitcoin volume approached $3 billion. That of Upbit, on the other hand, remained constricted below $1 billion during the same period.
— Kaiko (@KaikoData) January 18, 2024
The latest explosion in Bitcoin volume on Bithumb comes amidst strong buying pressure from retail investors in South Korea, as evidenced by record high Korean Premium value. In fact, Bithumb, along with other top cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, marked their highest trading volumes in the first week of January 2024.
Bithumb IPO in 2025
Bithumb is also set to make its debut on the KOSDAQ, South Korea’s equivalent of the Nasdaq in the United States, in the latter part of 2025. The move would position it as the digital asset company to undergo the process of becoming publicly traded on the South Korean stock market.
Despite no formal announcement by Bithumb, the recent selection of Samsung Securities as a potential underwriter strongly hints at a progression toward the IPO process.