South Korea’s securities exchange operator, the Korea Exchange (KRX), is “studying” ways to “embrace crypto assets,” its Chairman has stated.
According to Chosun and Seoul Shinmun, the KRX chief Sohn Byung-du told attendees at a financial conference that “it is time to explore how we can embrace crypto assets.”
“The crypto asset market is no different from the capital market in that investor protection and transaction stability must be supported. It is time to study ways in which we can embrace crypto-assets using the experience and know-how [we have] accumulated in the [stock] market.”
Sohn will likely have noted that stock trading is in danger of becoming dwarfed by crypto investment. Although a recent survey of “wealthy” South Koreans found that the majority of the richest people in the country still shun crypto in favour of shares, they are in danger of begin overrun by a rushing tide of younger (and older) crypto investors who feel there is no value to be found on the KRX and its KOSPI index.
The Chairman conceded:
“The number of users on the [ “big”] four domestic [crypto] exchanges has exceeded 5 million, and the daily trading value is [almost USD 12 billion], which is close to the daily trading value of the KOSPI. The time has come to prepare an institutional framework.”
The Chairman’s comments come just over a year after the KRX stated that it would step up its monitoring of crypto-related stocks. That announcement came after a period of increased volatility for listed domestic companies with links to the crypto industry.
The exchange has watched as the share prices of the likes of Vidente, a listed non-crypto firm that owns a minority stake in the Bithumb exchange, have soared along with rising crypto prices.
The KRX will doubtless also have taken note of the fact that domestic crypto exchanges are eyeing initial public offerings elsewhere in the world. Lager crypto exchanges, market analysts say, are simply too big for the domestic exchange – and might instead look to follow in Coinbase’s steps by floating in New York.
The Korea Exchange is the nation’s only securities exchange operator. Based in the southern port city of Busan, it also operates cash market and market oversight offices in the capital Seoul.