There are several theories why cryptocurrency investment became so popular so quickly in Korea. According to Investopedia, they can be boiled down into three main reasons; harsh economic conditions in the country, familiarity with micropayment transactions, and political uncertainty.
Today’s newsletter is about a slightly different view on this issue. There is a commonly used internet slang word in Korea, ‘geum-su-jeo’, which literally means ‘gold spoon’. The term derived from the English expression ‘to be born with a silver spoon’. Even more precious than silver, ‘geum-su-jeo’ refers to those who are privileged — for example, who don’t have to work at all thanks to wealthy parents.
Variations came along, such as diamond spoons, bronze spoons, even, dirt spoons, often used by the self-deprecating masses. Number of scandals and incidents, worsened by an economic recession, strengthened this perception of the 21st century caste pyramid in Korea.
Anger, disappointment, a pinch of nihilism — these were what all the ‘spoons’ implied in 2017. That’s when cryptocurrency made its entrance. It was a fast, visible and lucrative investment item. Cryptocurrencies were open to anyone, and it seemed like the only chance left for those born with a ‘dirt spoon’ to upgrade the color of their cutlery. Rumors about one’s friend’s cousin’s wife who earned billions of KRW poured out in books of testimony (*page in Korean), fueling the frenzy.
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