The “Kimchi premium” is back. Bitcoin (BTC) is trading by more than 6% higher across major South Korean crypto exchanges as of March 29.
Data from CryptoQuant show that the premium in the South Korean market was non-existent for many months and, in fact, dropped to around -6% in early February 2021 when BTC dipped below $30,000.
The so-called Kimchi premium forms when the price of Bitcoin trades higher on South Korean exchanges over other markets.
The return of this premium is a bullish sign suggesting that demand for Bitcoin in South Korea is likely outpacing supply.
Why the Kimchi premium could be significant to Bitcoin
Although South Korea does not account for a majority share of the global Bitcoin market, it remains as one of the major exchange markets by daily volume.
On CoinMarketCap, as an example, Bithumb is listed as the seventh-largest exchange in the world by daily trading volume, registering $1.3 billion in Bitcoin traded over the past 24 hours.
The premium was especially high during past bull cycles, particularly in 2017 when BTC was trading well over 20% higher on South Korean exchanges compared to Coinbase and other large exchanges.
The Kimchi premium shows two major trends. First, it shows that the overall market sentiment in South Korea remains healthy. Second, it indicates that more buyers are entering the market.
— Ki Young Ju 주기영 (@ki_young_ju) March 25, 2021
The premium was already rebounding in the past several weeks up before Visa announced that it is processing transactions using USDC on the Ethereum blockchain.
When the news was announced, both Bitcoin and Ethereum rose by around 5% within three hours, leading to a strong recovery in the cryptocurrency market. The announcement may add more momentum to the rapid pace of institutional adoption so far this year and the possibility of a broader Bitcoin rally.
“I smell crypto mass adoption here,” Ki Young Ju, the CEO of CryptoQuant, reacted to the news.
What traders think will happen next
According to the pseudonymous trader known as “Rekt Capital,” if Bitcoin breaks above $59,000, a new all-time high becomes highly probable.
The trader noted:
“BTC is recovering this week after the down-side wicks of the previous 2 weeks showed slowing in the sell-side momentum $BTC will attempt to crack the confluent black diagonal & red horizontal resistance area (~$59,000) Break this area and #Bitcoin will reach new All-Time Highs.”
Fellow trader “CryptoCapo” meanwhile said that this momentum can potentially take Bitcoin to new highs and above, possibly to even $80,000. He said:
“The panic didn’t make any sense. Some people just want to see the world burn… Send it to $80k+”