With crypto trading reportedly reaching feverish proportions in South Korea, internet giant Kakao might be set for an upward share price advance.
Quoting comments from analysts Mirae Asset Daewoo — a South Korean brokerage outfit — The Korea Herald has reported that the chat app operator stands to benefit from the ongoing enthusiasm in the Bitcoin (BTC) market. According to Mirae Asset Daewoo analyst Kim Chang-kwon:
“Kakao owns about a 23 percent stake directly and indirectly in Upbit’s operator Dunamu. Since Upbit has already surpassed its record-high traffic and trading amount set in the fourth quarter of 2017, we expect Kakao to enjoy benefits.”
Upbit is one of the “big four” cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea along with Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit.
Apart from its equity stake in Dunamu, Kakao, like other major South Korean conglomerates also maintains a significant presence in the crypto and blockchain space. The chat app operator has its own cryptocurrency KLAY as well as a blockchain platform Klaytn developed by its subsidiary Ground X.
Bloomberg data puts Kakao stock price at 485,000 won ($429.77) as of the time of writing. Mirae Asset Daewoo has upped its price target for Kakao’s share price to $522.81.
Indeed, the internet giant earned over $25 million in profits for Q4 2017 from its investment in Dunamu. At the time, BTC and the crypto market enjoyed a frenzied bull market that saw Bitcoin almost eclipsing the $20,000 mark in mid-December 2017.
According to Chang-kwon, if predictions about 2021 being a year-long bull market for Bitcoin holds, Kakao stands to see its Dunamu investment-based profits likely reach $90 million. The market analyst also noted that a Coinbase listing on the Nasdaq would trigger an equity revaluation for Kakao.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, crypto exchange trading in South Korea is on the rise. Earlier in March, the reported volume across major platforms temporarily exceeded the market activity of the country’s stock market.
Upbit has been a major beneficiary of this crypto trading boom with its main banker, K bank, reportedly targeting a 2022 initial public offering. Such is the extent of the current cryptocurrency trading fever that K bank has accelerated its profitability timetable despite major operational disruptions in 2019 that resulted in an $89 million loss for the year.
Meanwhile, regulators in the country are ramping up efforts to police the cryptocurrency market amid the current trading boom. Exchanges and other service providers have been mandated to report all transactions or risk five-year jail terms for their principal executives.
The crypto reporting policy is expected to come into effect later in March. Cryptocurrency businesses in the country have six months to comply with the new regulatory paradigm.
South Korea’s tax authority is also turning its attention to the booming crypto market as it tries to identify individuals hiding their assets in virtual currencies to evade taxes.