Top 10 Cryptocurrency Exchanges in Korea

Top 10 Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Koreans are more interested in cryptocurrencies than any other country.  This is in spite of the Korean government banning ICOs in Korea as well as regulating cryptocurrency exchanges in Korea.  Many Koreans are even banking on cryptocurrencies as their retirement funds!  Daily trading of cryptocurrencies is very high in Korea so it is good to know which are the best cryptocurrency exchange sites in Korea.  We at Startup Radar have assembled a list of the top 10 cryptocurrency exchanges in Korea.  We looked into many factors, such as the number of users, security features, customer satisfaction, and payment options.  If you are a beginning trader living in Korea, you will definitely find this article helpful.

10)  Youbit

Youbit has made headlines for getting hacked.  They are previously operated by Yapizon.  During that time they were hacked for over 3,000 bitcoins.  Many suspected that North Korea was behind the hacking of the Bitcoins.  Therefore, after that Youbit went offline but this year they re-emerged.  Many thought after they filed for bankruptcy over al this controversy, that this would be the end of Youbit.    However, they are back under new management called Coinbin.

9)  Coinlink

Coinlink is a Korean cryptocurrency exchange company that is listed on Kosdaq.  Therefore, Coinlink is Korea’s first bitcoin exchange run by a Kosdaq-listed company called Accupix.  Accupix’s main business is selling coal but they also construct railway communication systems.

Coinlink will be operated by Fourth Link.  Because Coinlink will be the first cryptocurrency exchange operated by a Kosdaq-registered company, it will have a secure system and reliability.  Fourth Link is looking to build a global network of cryptocurrency exchanges.  The first step will be signing a partnership with Glosfar, which is a Korean company that offers bitcoin transfer services.  In addition, they are also looking to form alliances with partners in China, Japan, U.S., Philippines, Indonesia, and South Africa.

8)  Zeniex

Zeniex opened in February of 2018.  They were created by Korean and Chinese finance and security experts.  Currently, the platform can only buy and sell cryptocurrencies because many major Korean banks are holding off on confirming bank accounts for cryptocurrency trading.  Furthermore, many Korean banks have been refusing to issue real-name accounts citing uncertainties and security concerns regarding cryptocurrencies.


GOPAX stands for Global Online Professional Assets Exchange.  This is a very new exchange.  It was opened by a blockchain company called Streami in late 2017.  Streami is partnered with Korean bank Shinhan.  On GOPAX users can trade the day they register.  It is very easy to register and the exchange platform is very easy to use.  In addition, everything is on a single page and there are no transaction fees.  Most of their trading comes from Bitcoin and Stellar.

While they are a very new exchange there is a lot of buzz around GOPAX.  They have been aggressive in their efforts to increase their users.  Furthermore, they have done many promotional events where they gave away free coins.  They are now trading Ripple!  The drawback to GOPAX and the reason it is 8 on our list is that the site is too focused on the local Korean market.  Therefore, this exchange is for Koreans and you won’t find many English comments or feedback.

6)  Coinnest

Coinnest made headlines for being the first cryptocurrency exchange company to have their employees arrested by the Korean government.  The exchange has over 500,000 members and has the vastest selection of cryptocurrencies.  They offer the Pundi X Pass card which users can top up cryptocurrencies through the mobile app or through Pundi X POS devices.  This will allow people with no access to cryptocurrencies to conduct transactions.

The purpose of the Pundi X Pass and the Pundi POS is to bring cryptocurrencies to the mainstream.  In addition, their public token sale in January sold out in just 90 minutes.  Coinnest’s most traded crypto is Tron which makes up over 50% of its daily volume.

5)  Coinplug

Coinplug is known for their okBitcard service.  This service allows Koreans to buy Bitcoin vouchers at any 7-11 or Mini Stop across Korea.  Therefore, this is a very quick and easy way to buy small amounts of bitcoin.  All you need is your phone number.  You can also purchase bitcoin using your credit card.  They have over 7,000 ATMs in Korea.

Coinplug has made all this possible because of their partnership with Nautilus Hyosung which is Korea’s largest ATM hardware producer.  The goal was to make acquiring Bitcoin easy to the general public.  Coinplug is looking to expand to other countries by the end of 2018.


4)  Korbit

Korbit was the first cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea.  It is our #4 cryptocurrency exchanges in Korea.  The exchange had a solid reputation of being foreigner friendly.  Furthermore, it holds a 6% market share in Korea.  They have very low fees, great security features, and offers a remittance service.  This year Korbit has banned non-Korean citizens from depositing local currency into Korbit.  Therefore, this resulted in Korbit losing a lot of foreign customers.

Korbit has been leading the way in following the regulations set by the Korean government.  In addition, they have taken steps in requiring cryptocurrency exchange users to connect to their bank account for identification purposes.

3)  Coinone

Coinone focuses mainly on Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ethereum Classic.  They hold 8% market share in Korea.  In addition, they have gone from a 20 employee company in early 2017 to over 100 employees today.  They have over 600,000 users and does over 20 billion won in monthly revenue.  Furthermore, Coinone has been at the forefront in encouraging healthy trading practices through education.  They have issued statements on the technological aspects of each coin they list.

Coinone made headlines this year for being raided by regulators who wanted to check their ledger.  However, this has not slowed down Coinone.  They are looking to become a global fintech company that does exchange remittance, investment consultation, and insurance services.  They are currently looking to form joint ventures with Southeast Asian crypto exchanges.

2)  Bithumb

Bithumb has quickly become one of the most dominant cryptocurrency markets in Korea.  They continue to add cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Bitcoin Dash, and Ethereum.  All these can be exchanged for Korean Won.  They hold 33% of the market share in Korea and have a daily trading volume of over 250 billion Won.  They are all about the promotion of using digital currencies for everyday life.  Therefore they recently showcased their new kiosks that accept Bitcoin Cash.

In 2018 Bithumb partnered with Korea Pay’s Services to reach Korean brands to try payments in cryptocurrencies.  Furthermore, their focus moving forward is on launching three services for the kiosk venture.  In addition, Touchpad, Touchbone, and Bithumb Cache, all focus on making it easier for customers to use digital currencies.

1) Upbit

The Kakao-backed cryptocurrency exchange comes in at #1 in our rankings.  last year they received close to 200 billion won in commission sales last year.  They hold 53% market share in Korea and has a 24-hour trading volume of 1.3 Trillion Won.  It is operated by Dunamu Inc. which also owns Korea’s top messenger app Kakao Talk.  Upbit is integrated with Kakao Talk and has over 120 cryptocurrencies because of their partnership with Bittrex.

Upbit has plans to launch a new global cryptocurrency index called UBCI (Upbit Crypto Index).  This will set the standard for future coins and make it easier for investors and the public to understand the market trends.  Look for UBCI to play an important role in Korea, especially for future ICO startups in Korea.

John Yoon

John Yoon is the Editor in Chief at Startup Radar, Organizer for Startup Festival 2017, Head of Operations Korea at EOS Asia and the Global Marketing Director for Email = [email protected] if you are interested in guest contributing and helping the Korean startup ecosystem. Wechat, Kakao, and Line user ID is jswy315

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