Survey data shows that about three out of every 10 South Korean workers have invested in cryptocurrency in some shape or form.
31.3% Invested in Virtual Currencies
On Wednesday, online job portal Saramin surveyed 941 salaried people in South Korea, and 31.3% of them claimed to have invested in virtual currencies, with an average investment of 5.66 million won ($5,300).
Among workers surveyed, 44.1% invested less than one million won, while 18.3% invested between one and two million won. 12.9% said they invested more than 10 million won, 9.8% invested between 2 million and 4 million won, and 7.8% invested between 4 million won and 6 million won.
As to the reasons behind their investment in virtual currencies, 54.2% of people believed it was the fastest way of making money, while 47.8% said it was easy to invest a small amount of money in virtual currencies.
Just like any other investment, some win, some lose. About 80.3% of workers surveyed said their investments in cryptocurrency were profitable, 6.4% said they lost money, and 13.2% said they broke even. 21.1% of those who earned money made of over 10%, while 19.4% said their returns were more than 100%.
Boom Amid Growing Uncertainty
South Korea has been particularly active in bitcoin. The country is home to three of the world’s biggest exchanges, accounting for as much as 20% of worldwide bitcoin trades.
It is estimated that 2 million people in South Korea possess bitcoin and other digital currencies. The surging bitcoin price has been attracting newcomers, from college students checking prices between classes to grandparents playing the market at home. And they are willing to pay a premium of between 15% and 25% over global prices in hopes that the bitcoin rally will continue. Local traders call it the “kimchi premium,” referencing the country’s popular fermented cabbage dish.
With so many small investors diving in, South Korean authorities are getting worried about the potential impact of a crash. Earlier in December, the government said it was preparing a bill attempting to prohibit activities linked to digital currencies, including the trading of bitcoin unless they take place through exchanges that meet six conditions.