As the world’s second largest Ethereum exchange market, South Korea is evolving into an Ethereum powerhouse with a rapidly growing number of active developments, domestic projects and communities.

In a move that wasn’t surprising, on Sep. 21 South Korea has passed China in total Bitcoin trading volume.  

Earlier this week, the biggest Ethereum meetup in history was hosted in Seoul, with representatives and speakers from Casper, Plasma and OmiseGO.

Influential figures in the industry including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Foundation researcher Karl Floersch and OmiseGO managing director Vansa Chatikavanj attended the event as speakers, introducing new developments and solutions in Ethereum such as Plasma.

The meetup was sold out with 1,000 reservations and 800 individuals on the waiting list. It was the first Ethereum meetup to host over a thousand attendees.

Ban on domestic ICOs by South Korean government, a minimal factor

On Sep. 29, the South Korean government and its financial regulator the Financial Services Commission (FSC) revealed its plans to ban domestic initial coin offerings (ICOs). Since the ICO industry is a major market for Ethereum, many traders panic sold Ether, which eventually led Ether price to decline by over eight percent.

But, Ethereum price swiftly recovered, increasing back to around $300 within seven hours since the announcement of the South Korean government was released. Although the market share of the South Korean Ethereum exchange market fell from 33 percent to 23 percent, South Korea still secured its position as the second largest market for Ethereum.

Speculative investors

The majority of traders in the South Korean Ethereum market are speculative investors and tend to be largely influenced by any movement in the industry that could lead to a decline in Ethereum price. However, a fairly large portion of investors are avid supporters of Ethereum as a technology and an infrastructure for decentralized applications.

At the moment, ICOs seem like the largest market for Ethereum. In the upcoming years, it is likely that the performance of decentralized applications will evolve as a major factor for the market cap of Ethereum. In an interview with JoongAng, a leading finance news publication in South Korea, Buterin emphasized that it could take two to five years for Ethereum to scale to a point in which decentralized applications with millions of users can be launched and sustained.

There are many multi-billion dollar conglomerates and financial institutions in the Ethereum industry developing decentralized applications and platforms on top of the Ethereum protocol. The emergence of efficient and innovative scaling solutions will create a better environment for decentralized applications and will allow highly anticipated projects such as decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges and marketplaces to evolve.

Ethereum powerhouse

If support and enthusiasm toward Ethereum in South Korea are sustained in the mid-term, it is highly likely that the South Korean Ethereum exchange market could evolve into an Ethereum powerhouse. As Buterin noted in the interview with JoongAng in the upcoming years, applications of Ethereum in a variety of industries will be tested and implemented.

Buterin explains:

“I would say that Ethereum’s main benefits are in its generality and in its utility to many kinds of industries. There are applications in finance, identity, supply chain tracking, health care, energy and many other areas. This is a result of Ethereum deliberately being designed as a general-purpose programming platform.”