Cryptocurrency was the way out for many young South Koreans who enjoyed the bitcoin boom and looked to get rich quick. Bitcoin is widely popular in South Korea as country also hosts two of the world's biggest crypto exchanges. However the bitcoin bubble burst and saw bitcoin values plummet from a high of $19,000 to a low of $7,000. Even after the recent decline in Bitcoin's value, the Korean won is the third most traded currency for Bitcoin transactions. Additionally, 17% of global Ethereum trading was located in South Korea.
This is why the many South Koreans who invested in cryptocurrencies were hit hard by the downturn. It is estimated that three out of ten South Korean workers invested in digital currencies and Eighty percent of these investors were in their 20s and 30s.
They were hit hard because the price all cryptocurrencies have gone down fast. Many of these young people who put their cash into cryptocurrencies are now experiencing what psychologists call the "Bitcoin Blues." Some financial analysts predict that when these millennials break even, they will be jumping off the cryptocurrency train.
The enthusiasm for cryptocurrency in Korea reveals an underlying problem in the country. Although the country's economy is flourishing and the overall unemployment rate is at 4.6 percent, young people can't find jobs. Youth unemployment in the country is at 10 percent, while the underemployment rate – which is the rate at which people are working at jobs they are overqualified for – was as high as 38 percent in 2016. The rate is even higher this year.
Government Must Do More To Help Millennials
In a country where 70 percent of those aged 25 to 34 have a post-secondary degree, it can be hard to rise to the top. There are entire neighborhoods in Seoul studying to pass the hiring exams for the country's biggest companies or to secure government jobs. Many find it hard to see how they can improve their position in life and one way out was to invest in the booming
In a statement, Lee Nak-Yeon, Korea's prime minister said
Young people and students are rushing into virtual currency trading to earn huge profits in just a short period of time. It is time for the government to take action as it could lead to serious pathological phenomena if left unchecked
South Korea has put in place more stringent regulations on cryptocurrencies in recent months.