• Koreans quickly embrace new technology.
  • Cryptocurrency trading is seen as a solution to youth unemployment, rising housing prices and other woes.
  • It’s a perfect investment for young people who often have little initial capital.
  • The stateless nature of cryptocurrency appeals to investors who are concerned about geopolitical uncertainty.

Koreans continue to love cryptocurrency, despite official scepticism at home and increasing regulations overseas.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Korean job portal Saramin, 40.4% of 1,855 workers polled said that they have invested in cryptocurrency.

Some 49.8% of South Korean workers in their thirties said they have invested in cryptocurrencies, as did 37.1% in their twenties.

Why is crypto so hot in Korea? Well, there are several theories.

A nation of first adopters

Korea is a highly innovative, technologically advanced country with ubiquitous, lightning-fast internet, and Koreans quickly adapt to innovations. In short, it’s a nation of first adopters.

History, policy and culture explain the Korean enthusiasm for technology — with a historically strong business environment that fosters economic growth, policy reforms accommodating technological innovations and the cultural embracement of a fast-paced lifestyle.

The youth’s big break?

One of the greatest advantages of cryptocurrency is the fact that it’s super accessible. Anyone can open up a wallet, start trading and make (or lose) money within a matter of hours.

This makes crypto the perfect investment opportunity for young people. For example, a recent survey found that 68% of college students have invested in crypto already.

Furthermore, young Koreans suffer high unemployment rates, contending with a competitive job market and rising costs of living. With real estate — a traditional investment in Korea — out of reach due to skyrocketing prices, cryptocurrency offers a way out:

From the Korea Times:

“As young people living in Seoul, we will not be able to purchase a house like that owned by our parents, unless we never spend money on anything and rather just save money for three decades,” said Lee Jae-yeon, 25, from Seoul.

“If we go along the path determined for us by society, we will not be able to buy a house in our lifetime. So, many of us are choosing to take a different path by investing in cryptocurrencies. Although not yet designated by the government as a new asset class, they could bring bigger returns, if successful.”

Interestingly, Korean interest in cryptocurrencies mirrors Korean interest in digital property in the metaverse — the impact the latter will have on NFTs bears watching.

Geopolitical uncertainty

Another major group of people involved in crypto are investors who are keen to own a stateless currency due to political instability.

South Korea, of course, sits just across the DMZ from North Korea, a constant security concern. News from North Korea often adversely affects the South Korean economy — see the impact recent news regarding the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had on South Korean stock and money markets.

Sino-American tensions, historical issues with Japan and other regional problems add to the geopolitical uncertainty.

All these potential conflicts make stateless cryptocurrencies such as ICX very appealing.