Summary: Korea's embrace of digital assets, including Bitcoin, stablecoins, and various altcoins, has been robust, driven by the development of exchanges adhering to the guidelines set by the Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC). These platforms facilitate easy account setups and offer diverse trading opportunities. They strictly adhere to Korean financial regulations, ensuring a secure environment for transactions.
Our detailed review identifies the top 5 cryptocurrency exchanges in Korea. Each is distinguished by its dedication to safety and regulatory adherence, breadth of cryptocurrency support, transparent fee structures, customer support excellence, and distinctive features.
- Trade over 1000 cryptocurrencies on spot and futures markets with up to 25x leverage.
- Free and fast South Korean Won (KRW) deposits via bank transfers, credit cards and more.
- Regularly audited proof-of-reserves that shows assets are held 1:1.
Best Crypto Exchanges in Korea
Our team of experts has developed a comprehensive assessment methodology to identify the leading cryptocurrency investment platforms specifically designed for Korean investors. The process considers a range of factors, such as compliance with the FSC, security measures, transparent disclosure of assets, fee structures, and the variety of supported digital currencies. Following an in-depth analysis, we've determined the top 5 exchanges in Korea.
Bybit has earned its reputation as the best overall cryptocurrency exchange in Korea. It is known for its high liquidity and low trading fees, which make it an attractive option for those looking to maximize their profits. As a global platform, it is available in over 160 countries worldwide and can be used in several languages, including Korean. It provides a range of advanced trading features, such as futures contracts, leverage options up to 25x, and a robust risk management system. The combination of these features, along with 24/7 Korean-speaking customer support and a wide range of over 1000 cryptocurrencies, makes Bybit the best choice for many Korean traders.
- Minimum Deposit: 13,000 KRW or equivalent for first-time deposit.
- Supported Assets: 1000+ Cryptocurrency.
- Regulation: Registered in Korea.
- Fees: Costs include a 0.1% fee for spot trading, 0.01% fee for maker orders, and 0.06% for taker orders on futures markets. Deposits and withdrawals are completely free of charge.
Upbit is the largest Korean digital asset exchange and is tailored to meet the specific needs and preferences of the local market. The platform supports a wide array of 190+ cryptocurrencies, including popular Korean tokens, and offers trading pairs with the Korean Won (KRW). Upbit is also renowned for its security measures, which include multi-signature wallets and insurance coverage for digital assets. The exchange has a straightforward user interface and offers mobile applications for trading on the go. Additionally, Upbit provides educational resources and market analysis tools that help traders make informed decisions.
- Minimum Deposit: 20,000 KRW or equivalent for first-time deposit.
- Supported Assets: 190+ Cryptocurrency.
- Regulation: Registered with the FSC in Korea.
- Fees: Costs include a 2.4% fee for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Deposits and withdrawals range between 0.5% - 4% depending on the selected payment method.
Kraken is the top alternative platform for cryptocurrency trading in Korea. It offers a wide range of cryptocurrencies and is particularly known for its strong emphasis on regulatory compliance. It is one of the few platforms that provide fiat-to-crypto trading pairs, including USD, EUR, and KRW, making it easier for Korean traders to diversify their portfolios. The platform also offers advanced trading options like margin trading and futures contracts. One of Kraken's standout features is its robust security protocols, which include cold storage solutions and two-factor authentication. Kraken also undergoes regular audits to prove all assets are backed 1:1, providing peace of mind for its users.
- Minimum Deposit: 50,000 KRW for first-time deposit.
- Supported Assets: 200+ Cryptocurrency.
- Regulation: Regulated in Korea.
- Fees: Costs include a 0.26% fee for spot trading, and the maker/taker rebate is 0.02%/0.05%.
KuCoin is highly regarded as the best exchange for beginners in Korea. It offers a wide range of over 700 cryptocurrencies and trading pairs, along with advanced trading features like futures and margin trading with up to 50x leverage. KuCoin is known for its low trading fees and a loyalty program that rewards users with its native KCS tokens. Security is not compromised despite the lack of KYC, it employs an insurance fund to cover potential losses from system flaws or breaches. Its user-friendly interface and focus on privacy make it a preferred choice for those who want a hassle-free trading experience.
- Minimum Deposit: 10,000 KRW or equivalent for first-time deposit.
- Supported Assets: 700+ Cryptocurrency.
- Regulation: Not regulated in Korea.
- Fees: Costs include a 0.1% fee for spot trading. Deposits and withdrawals vary depending on the payment method.
Gate.io holds the title of the best altcoin trading platform in Korea, offering over 1700 lesser-known cryptocurrencies that are often not available on other exchanges. This makes it an ideal platform for traders looking to diversify their portfolios beyond mainstream tokens. Gate.io offers a range of markets, including spot trading, futures contracts, and even options trading for certain cryptocurrencies. Besides its wide selection of assets, it's known for its strong security measures, including cold storage and an insurance fund to protect users' assets. Its specialization in altcoins, meme coins, NFT coins, Metaverse coins, stablecoins, GameFi coins, and robust feature set make it a valuable platform for Korean traders.
- Minimum Deposit: 15,000 KRW or equivalent for first-time deposit.
- Supported Assets: 1700+ Cryptocurrency.
- Regulation: Not regulated in Korea.
- Fees: Costs include a 0.1% fee for spot trading, and deposits and withdrawals in KRW are completely free of charge.
Is Cryptocurrency Regulated in Korea?
In Korea, the approach to cryptocurrency regulation is one of cautious optimism, distinguishing it from nations with more restrictive frameworks. The Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Ministry of Economy and Finance are the key agencies responsible for overseeing the digital currency landscape in the country. Although Korea has not formally endorsed cryptocurrencies as a legal tender, there is an increasing focus on grasping the potential and challenges of digital assets.
Korean regulators are proactively striving to understand and possibly integrate cryptocurrency activities, positioning the nation as a forward-thinking player in the East Asian region regarding crypto governance. The attitude towards digital currencies in Korea is progressively shifting towards a more favorable outlook, particularly as worldwide adoption continues to expand.
How to Buy Bitcoin in Korea
In Korea, enthusiasts keen on venturing into the cryptocurrency space often prefer Bybit for its user-friendly interface. This platform allows the straightforward deposit of Korean Won through various methods, including bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards, and even popular local payment solutions like Kakao Pay. Bybit is renowned for its extensive array of over 1000 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, which users can trade or stake.
To initiate Bitcoin trading in Korea, proceed with the following:
- Begin Registration: Sign up on Bybit and undergo the requisite verification processes.
- Choose a Deposit Option: Go to the 'Buy Crypto' area and pick a suitable deposit method.
- Select Bitcoin: Choose 'KRW' as your deposit currency and Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency.
- Execute Transaction: Specify the amount you wish to invest and click 'Buy' to complete your Bitcoin acquisition.
Korean Tax Requirements
In Korea, the National Tax Service (NTS) is responsible for the oversight of cryptocurrency taxation, providing clear directives for individuals and corporations alike. Korean residents in possession of cryptocurrencies are required to declare their asset values for taxation, influencing their wealth tax assessments. Unlike certain jurisdictions, Korea imposes a capital gains tax on the earnings from these digital assets.
For Korean businesses and independent contractors, cryptocurrencies are acknowledged as business assets. This categorization implies that both income and wealth taxes are applicable. Revenue generated from activities like mining, staking, or lending is subject to business income tax. Moreover, the consumption tax might be applicable to specific cryptocurrency-related transactions.
To sum up, in Korea's well-regulated crypto landscape, exchanges like Bybit, Upbit, Kraken, KuCoin, and Gate.io stand out for their adherence to Financial Services Commission (FSC) guidelines, offering a blend of security, user experience, and asset diversity. These platforms not only comply with local regulations but also specialize in unique features that cater to different trading needs.