South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit has seen a dramatic decline in trading volume, plummeting to US$3.8 billion in early April from a record high of US$15 billion on March 5, CoinDesk reported, citing CoinGecko data.

On March 5, Upbit’s trading volume surged to its annual peak, highlighted by the entry of capital into spot Bitcoin ETFs.

The exchange saw Bitcoin prices reach new heights, surpassing international figures due to the “Kimchi Premium.” This phenomenon occurs when cryptocurrency prices south of the Korean Peninsula are higher than in other markets.

However, this heightened trading activity was not sustained, with Upbit’s daily volume sharply contracting to US$2.6 billion by March 31, CoinDesk reported.

DeSpread Research’s analysis reveals a marked preference among South Korean crypto investors for altcoins, diverging from the dominant Bitcoin and Ether trades on platforms like Coinbase.

Upbit’s user base appears more willing to engage in speculative altcoin trading in pursuit of higher returns, which may explain the exchange’s fluctuating trade volumes across different digital currencies.