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According to recent data collected by the South Korean government, the accumulated commission income of the country’s 30 cryptocurrency exchanges last year was 87.5 times that of the previous year. The vast increase in income and crypto transactions was largely contributed by the newcomer exchange backed by Kakao Corp.
Crypto Exchanges Made 700 Billion Won
The commission revenues of South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges collectively increased approximately 87.5 times last year compared to the previous year, local media reported.
The data, published on Sunday, “was collected with the help of the government, [and] was estimated based on sales of commissions and the local price of bitcoin released by each operator,” Yonhap wrote, further elaborating:
According to the data released by Rep. Park Kwang-on of the ruling Democratic Party, accumulated commission-related sales of some 30 cryptocurrency exchange operators are presumed to have reached 700 billion won [~USD$658 million] as of the end of last year, compared with an estimated amount of 8 billion won as of the end of 2016.
Park added that, based on the same method of calculation, the estimated commission income for cryptocurrency exchanges in 2015 was 3.2 billion won, Kyeonggi Daily noted.
Korea’s Top Crypto Exchanges
South Korea has four major cryptocurrency exchanges: Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit.
According to Representative Park, Upbit is now the largest crypto exchange in the country with a market share of 52.9%, based on data over 6 days of last week. The Kakao-backed cryptocurrency exchange is estimated to have collected 194.3 billion won in commission sales last year. “The analysis also reflected the fact that the number of virtual currency transactions has doubled since last October when Upbit began operations,” Kyeonggi Daily added.
During the same time period, Bithumb had approximately 32.7% of the market share, while Coinone had 8.3% and Korbit had 6.2%. The estimated sales of the three exchanges were 317.7 billion won, 78.1 billion won, and 67 billion won respectively, the publication conveyed.
According to Coinmarketcap, Upbit is currently the third largest cryptocurrency exchange globally. Its 24-hour trading volume is USD $1.3 billion at the time of this writing, while Bithumb’s volume is approximately $1.1 billion.
Taxation Coming Soon
The Korean regulators are currently working on how to tax cryptocurrency exchanges as well as crypto trading.
In answering the people’s petition regarding unfair cryptocurrency regulations, Hong Nam-ki, Minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination (OPC), confirmed that the Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance is working on cryptocurrency taxation.
“Tax should be paid if income exists,” he asserted, adding that various ministries are examining other countries’ approaches to taxing cryptocurrencies. “So, I think that it would be possible to get some information on the virtual currency taxation system soon,” he emphasized.
By Kevin Helms
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