The 24-hour trading volume at Upbit, one of South Korea’s biggest crypto exchanges, fell to $3.8 billion at the start of April after reaching a high earlier in March. 

On March 5, Upbit recorded a daily trading volume of almost $15 billion, the exchange’s highest trading volume this year.

The crypto exchange’s surge in daily trading volume may be attributed to Bitcoin reaching a new all-time high of $69,200 on the same day.

The rush was primarily driven by large inflows in the new spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the United States.

While Bitcoin was trading below $70,000 in the rest of the world, the digital asset reached a new all-time high of 96,734,000 South Korean won (about $72,504) on Upbit at around 3:00 pm UTC on March 5.

This may have played a role in boosting the daily trading volume at the exchange on March 5.

This price difference in South Korea versus the rest of the world is commonly called the “Kimchi Premium.” Named after the country’s famous fermented side dish, the Kimchi Premium refers to the disparity between BTC prices on Korean crypto trading platforms and international crypto exchanges.

Despite its uptick, the surge did not last, as the daily trading volume on the exchange dropped to as low as $2.6 billion on March 31.

Upbit’s daily exchange trading volume chart. Source: CoinGecko

According to coin information tracker CoinGecko, Upbit’s current 24-hour trading volume for April 1 is $3.8 billion.

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In 2023, Upbit’s parent company reported an 81% decline in net profits. On Nov. 28, Upbit owner Dunamu reported a profit of $23 million, which is much lower than the same period in 2022, when it earned about $123 million.

The company said the lower profits could be due to a “sluggish investment market” stemming from an economic downturn. It also pointed toward the lower prices of digital assets as one of the causes of the decline in profit.

Despite Dunamu’s profit drop in 2023, Upbit continued its business expansion efforts. On Jan. 9, the exchange obtained a Major Payment Institution license from Singapore’s central bank. This allows the company to offer crypto and fiat-related services in Singapore.

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