The last year was a bitter-sweet journey for the cryptocurrency market as some countries embraced Bitcoin while others came down strongly in terms of the regulatory structure. Additionally, the space saw higher adoption as the global crypto market cap rose to as high as $3 trillion in November last year. However, with a rise in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, a rise in complaints about crypto exchanges was also seen in nations like South Korea.
Crypto Complaints on The Rise
Reports by local new agencies suggested that there was a 7.7x spike in the number of customer complaints lodged against South Korea’s four biggest crypto exchanges in 2021, as citizens in the nation followed the global crypto craze. Further, crypto mining also saw a considerable rise.
The data on complaints were submitted by the Korea Consumer Agency to the offices of the MP Lee Joo-hwan of the opposition People’s Strength Party. The recorded data suggests that a total of 232 formal consumer complaints were lodged to the agency last year from customers of the four exchanges – Upbit, Coinone, Korbit, and Bithumb.
The aforementioned number is a steep rise from just 24 cases in 2019 and 30 cases in 2020. Notably, most of the complaints were lodged against Coinone amounting to 130 cases, followed by Upbit with 74 cases, Bithumb with 17 cases, and Korbit with 11 cases.
However, solely looking at the rise in complaints would mean missing the bigger picture. Interestingly, over the last year, there was a sheer rise in the number of users of the aforementioned exchanges. The rise in complaints corroborates with the rise in trading volumes and users on the exchanges. By the end of 2021, a combined 12.02 million customers which makes for over 23% of the nation’s population opened wallets at the four trading platforms.
South Koreans Moving to Home Mining
Apart from a rise in complaints, there was also a rise in the number of people now mining crypto in the country. This happened despite the fact that the national energy firm last year increased electricity prices for the first time in eight years.
Data indicated that while just 28 shipments of mining rigs were reported in 2020, this number rose to 453 shipments in 2021. The rise in home mining has happened despite the almost non-existent conventional energy resources in the nation.
Notably, since 2017 home miners have spent over $50.2 million on rig imports in South Korea. However, miners could face higher electricity rates in the near term as Lee stated.