SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Korea Bizwire) — Despite South Korea’s seven-figure userbase for cryptocurrency apps, a relatively small surge in domestic users of Hong Kong service Binance in the past week has industry watchers wondering whether local investors, increasingly hemmed in by government regulations, will begin an exodus towards foreign exchanges.
According to app research firm Wiseapp, the number of users for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency related apps has skyrocketed in the past ten weeks.
Wiseapp disclosed the results of an analysis on a sample survey it had conducted on 23,000 Android OS smartphone users, which included estimations that the number of users had gone from 140,000 in “week 1″ (October 30 through November 5) to 1.96 million by “week 11″ (January 8 through 14).
Bitcoin in South Korea made extraordinary gains in the latter half of last year, attracting investors in huge numbers. The overheating market drew the eye of regulators, who slowly but surely began to take steps to oversee the goings-on.
These figures were derived from the domestic cryptocurrency apps in the top 10 ‘most users’ category. Users with more than one account at different apps were only counted once.
Considering that iPhone owners were not included in this study, it is likely that the actual statistics for registered members of cryptocurrency exchanges are much higher.
The two leading exchanges, UPbit and Bithumb, are believed to have 1.28 million and 1.09 million users, respectively, while fellow exchanges Coinnest and HTS Coin possess a mere 220,000 combined.
While presenting the data, Wiseapp’s CEO stressed estimations based on app user numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as the volatile market and possible errors in the sample survey methodology could have corrupted the final numbers.
South Korea was abuzz last week with the government revealing it was looking into permanently closing down cryptocurrency exchanges, stirring up a wave of public consternation.
At least part of that wave appears to have landed on foreign shores, evidenced by the 44 percent increase (160,000) in users at Binance in the past week.
With speculation that the government’s heavy-handed approach led investors to look for greener pastures, there is uncertainty as to how things will unfold going forward.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)