The year of 2017 is definitely the year of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, the coin in the limelight, saw its value increase twenty-fold, going from $1,000 in January to almost $20,000 in December. In its wake, the price of coins like Ripple also skyrocketed by 36,018%, recently surpassing Ethereum to become the second-largest cryptocurrency ever. The price of a single Ripple coin was just six-tenths of a cent on the 1st of January 2017. Today, a single token is worth $2.72. The colossal gains that Ripple experienced means that if you had invested $1,000 in the currency at the beginning of the year, you would be over $360,000 rich now.
IMAGE SOURCE: Quartz.com
One of the key reasons for Ripple’s incredible rally is perhaps the enthusiasm of South Korean markets. Although the South Korea cryptocurrency market accounts for a relatively small percentage of global Bitcoin trades, it is undeniable that they played a crucial role in getting Ripple up the charts, boosting its market capitalization from $40 billion to $88 billion in less than a week. The numbers coincide: Over the past week, the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, Coinone, Bithumb, and Korbit have contributed to more than half of Ripple’s $4.5 billion daily trading volume.
In an interview with the New York Times, Tony Lyu, founder and CEO of South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Korbit, admits that the South Korean market is heavily driven by FOMO – fear of missing out. Lyu said:
“Word just spreads really fast in Korea. Once people are invested, they want everyone else to join the party. There’s been this huge, almost a community movement around this.”
It is clear that South Koreans are willing to pay the best price for their favorite cryptocurrency. According to data from Coinmarketcap, Ripple is trading at $2.62 on Bithumb, 14% higher than the global average. As seen from the data, the trade volume of Ripple is also the highest on Bithumb.
This increase in demand of cryptocurrencies in South Korea has garnered the attention of the South Korean government and policymakers. In an attempt to regulate the trading of cryptocurrencies, South Korean financial authorities have decided to ban non-residents and under-aged investors to bring speculation under control.
At the time of writing, the price of Ripple sits at a humble but promising $2.30, with a market capitalization of $88,728,137,358 USD.