There's Something VERY Strange Happening With STEEM and SBD In The South Korean Exchange Upbit!

in #steem5 years ago

The trading volume of the recently launched South Korean exchange Upbit is absolutely mind boggling. It seems that the exchange only recently revealed its volume numbers, but what it revealed is almost hard to believe.

First of all, the entire trading volume of the exchange is a little over $4 billion.

And second, STEEM and SBD are in the top 10 currencies there:

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 6.59.38 PM.png

And when we look into details, things are getting stranger and stranger.

STEEM has a volume of more $109 million for the STEEM / KRW pair. Which means, literally, people are buying huge amounts of STEEM with hard cash. Just to put things in perspective, this volume is ten times higher than Poloniex'. And please note that this is not STEEM / BTC, (which is still spectacular, with $13 million, slightly below Bittrex and twice as much as Poloniex), this is hard cash, people are buying huge amounts of STEEM with fiat:

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 7.13.08 PM.png

As for SBD, things are even stranger: Upbit is now the largest SBD trading exchange in the world, with a volume of $135 million for the SBD / KRW pair. Again, this is hard cash, this is not crypto to crypto. The SBD / BTC volume is $12 million, 30% more than Bittrex, and 12 times more than in Poloniex.

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 7.13.39 PM.png

The overall volume recorded by Coinmarketcap confirms this trend, shows a staggering $192 million during the last 24 hours.

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 6.59.25 PM.png

I have no idea what happens in South Korea, but this is beyond a single whale trying to nudge the price in an easy pump and dump scheme. It's even more than a few whales colluding together to do a larger operation. This seems like a social phenomenon unfolding.

Without any information from the field, and with data just being revealed (hence, unconfirmed), I can only speculate in one of these directions:

  • volume data is fake -> this will end in a hard landing, price will crash badly
  • somebody is laundering hard cash via Upbit (and there's a lot of laundering going on, if this is true) -> this will end in a hard landing, price will crash badly
  • STEEM / SBD is seen like a better alternative than Stellar or Bitcoin Gold, which shows a surprising level of maturity from this market -> price will continue to grow
  • STEEM / SBD is seen like a potentially disruptive technology -> price will continue to grow
  • SBD has less and less chances to trade for $1 in the near future (unless point one is true, and the data is fake) -> this will impact the debt-to-ownership ratio of STEEM in the long run

I confess I'm completely puzzled by these numbers and I would really appreciate some information from some of my fellow Steemians from South Korea (or at least with some information from the field). @slowwalker? @clayop?

I'm a serial entrepreneur, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Steemit you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.

Dragos Roua

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Google search trends show a massive peak of interest in steemit in South Korea...

S Korea.png

However, if I was a money launderer, I'd launder using the peak-interest crypto-currency too.

Even if it does crash at least I got a decent (ish) conversion rate on sdb-steem earlier!

I suspect we can divide the volume numbers by around 1000. There are 1067 KRW to the USD. Possibly the KRW volume is somehow being reported as USD volume. In any case the volume makes no sense. It looks inflated by 1000 times to me.

EDIT: I just visited their website. As you can see there is a discepency between the volume of steem reported as traded on the top right of the screenshot and the volume of steem reported as traded on the bottom left of the screenshot. The difference is 1000 times. Conclusion, probably have a figure which is 1000 times too large.!

Also look at the reported volume on the bar chart. You can easily see that the volume is nothing like that reported on Maybe there were 25 million KRW traded which would make a volume of less than 5 million steem.

I believe translation errors are mistaking volume held on the website with volume traded or something similar.

Don’t get excited yet.


Thanks for digging this up, looks like CMC got sidetracked with fake data this time. It does make a lot more sense now and we're heading for the option one, with a caveat: data is not fake (on purpose) but is not entirely true.

Thanks, great analysis.

Even if this is whole 'pump' is down to (unintentional) fake reporting, I still think the underlying increase in steemit bodes well for the coming months (maybe not weeks).

As to how far real global demand is increasing for steem, I don't know how far South Korea is ahead of the rest of the world/ or to what extent it's a trend-setter in such matters...? Something I may well research in the coming weeks.

Woff, woff!

Hello @dragosroua, Nice to meet you!

I'm a guide dog living in KR community. I can see that you want to contribute to KR community and communicate with other Korean Steemians. I really appreciate it and I'd be more than happy to help.

KR tag is used mainly by Koreans, but we give warm welcome to anyone who wish to use it. I'm here to give you some advice so that your post can be viewed by many more Koreans. I'm a guide dog after all and that's what I do!


  • If you're not comfortable to write in Korean, I highly recommend you write your post in English rather than using Google Translate.
    Unfortunately, Google Translate is terrible at translating English into Korean. You may think you wrote in perfect Korean, but what KR Steemians read is gibberish. Sorry, even Koreans can't understand your post written in Google-Translated Korean.
  • So, here's what might happen afterward. Your Google-Translated post might be mistaken as a spam so that whales could downvote your post. Yikes! I hope that wouldn't happen to you.
  • If your post is not relevant to Korea, not even vaguely, but you still use KR tag, Whales could think it as a spam and downvote your post. Double yikes!
  • If your post is somebody else's work(that is, plagiarism), then you'll definitely get downvotes.
  • If you keep abusing tags, you may be considered as a spammer. It may result to put you into the blacklist. Oops!

I sincerely hope that you enjoy Steemit without getting downvotes. Because Steemit is a wonderful place. See? Korean Steemians are kind enough to raise a guide dog(that's me) to help you!

Woff, woff! 🐶

I don't know if I'm replying to the right person, but I'll still do it.

First of all, thanks for the heads up.

Second, I think this post is very important for the Korean community, and for us, as a Steem community. It pertains to a Korean exchange which displays abnormally high trading volumes and it will really help us understand things that the language barrier is hiding.

Thanks for the guidance, appreciated!

I think it being added to different exchanges is helping the price of Steem and sbd rise

The trading volume of SBD is four times higher than the whole market cap of SBD. How could it be? In my opinion people speculate on SBD because of its low marketcap and people don't really know what SBD is. People have also take into account that inflation of SBD rises with its price. And inflation then causes downward pressure.

Here I have a chart where you see the price of SBD versus the inflation:

Its from my weekly steem statistics.

I think there's something wrong with the way Upbit reports the data. It may report it as USD, when in fact it's KRW, which results in higher volume numbers (possibly 1000 times higher).

It is probably because of the recent EOS meetup.

Where are the korean arbitrage bots? $5.36 in BTC, and $6.58 in KRW, on the same exchange! Come on, it's your time to shine!

By the way... Koreans made Monero blow up from $30-50 to $400. Monero's biggest exchange in trading volume is Korean (Bitthumb, 30% of the total volume!), Upbit 8th. Upbit is the only Korean exchange to list Steem. Maybe Koreans just enjoy investing a lot of money, into good projects...

In my humble opinion, if you want to launder money with cryptos, use Monero, not Steem! Monero is the most private of coins, and its huge market cap/trading volume allows you to be much more discreet about spending tens of millions of $!

I'd be very careful if you're planning on buying/selling in the next day or two. The reason you can't find a reason for this South Korean move in Steem/SBD is because there likely isn't a reason other than swing traders looking to make some money. South Korea has moved crypto prices many times in the past in nothing more than a pump & dump swing trade. If that's what it is it'll reverse itself by the end of the weekend.


South Korea has moved crypto prices many times in the past in nothing more than a pump & dump swing trade.

Thanks for this keen observation. Not to be pessimistic; but, from the looks of the charts, this might be another swing.


I only hope this will not make steem price crash.

Wow, crazy to see what a deeper dive into Upbit revealed. Curious what could be going on with that exchange. Thanks for sharing your findings!

Thanks for bringing it to my attention earlier on.

hope for the best
prepare for the worst.

I like your mentality on this note

This is interesting because Korea seems to have this effect on all crypto. Korea doesn't seem to have a problem overpaying for crypto. Hopefully it doesn't result in any price crashes for us.

I just hope this is the real deal and not too good to be true.

Let's just hope that Korea becomes the next big STEEM hub. We are trailing way behind other social media platforms. There are over 1.37 BILLION daily users of Facebook and only around 50-60K daily Steemit users.

We are the MINNOWS in the social media world.

Maybe people think the tax man won't come after them if they buy steem. Seems like many people are ignoring steem unless you cash your investment.

It is hard to believe, but I hope it is true! It would be interesting if we could read kr news on Steemit :D

Thanks for sharing! Links to your post were included in the wiki pages about Steem Exchanges, Steem Tokens, STEEM and Steem Dollar (SBD). Thanks and good luck again!

Excellent article.

It's probably also the SKoreans who pushed SBD above Steem again. I find it very disturbing that everyone thinks SBD is the official currency although it is just a electronic fiat currency.

When looking at SKorea you must never ignore NKorea, they are heavily invested and I could imagine they are a major player in the anonymous Steem/SBD universe. But I really don't know what they (or anyone else) specifically find appealing about SBD compared to Steem. Rational would be if Steem goes up.

I will follow you now.

This seems like a social phenomenon unfolding.

Last year, we did calculation of how steem is going to moon. Please do not be surprised, when everything is down, utility coins will be up.


To add there is currency market trade buy order at $45128.529 SBD to Steem at a rate of 0.774526. That is over $300k USD at current prices. Not sure what to make of this but there seems to be more than just interest in Steem and SBD which is a great sign.

Excellent post and i will go with point (03) steem and sbd are far better alternatives than stellar or bitcoin gold and i hope that the price will continue to grow.

I hope this isn't a laundering case. It will no doubt affect sbd and steem because eventually it will be dumped, this is what will cause the prices to come crashing..

I believe sbd and steem stands a better chance in the future compared to other cryptos though

Great analysis.

It is great that the prices of Steem are increasing as it draws more attention to the social phenomenon that Steem will become, as to why South Korea? well i think it has to do more of how the things work there than the rest of the world, maybe they know something other people don't?

Lets just hope for the best and be optimistic...Scenario 3
Its so good to see flux from fiat to crypto with Steem/SBD at the center of the whole phenomenon.

Hope this doesnot affect the Sbd prices negatively...hope for future increase.

I guess it s hard to know exactly what is going on there unless you are insider.The point is that as we saw in the last 3-4 days they can affect the market in both ways.Steem is new and i personally think it s gonna grow.maybe not in the explosive way bitcoin did but it will.

Wow, I’m puzzled by this too. Thanks for putting out this content, really gets me thinking. Hoping for the option you stated about STEEM being better alt than stellar or Bit gold, and value of STEEM rising is true. Looks forward to keeping my tabs on this news.

Oh wow -- it will be interesting to figure out the reason behind all of this volume. I've been looking at STEEM / SBD on coinmarketcap quite a bit, a had been wondering why they seemed to be outperforming the rest of the market so significantly.

I haven't seen any news about some kind of significant development in STEEM that would hint to a widespread adoption -- but one can only hope. I fear that the truth may be one of the first, negative options, you mentioned.

Hope not, time will tell. Still puzzled by how much money is spinning around STEEM/SBD in South Korea, had no idea about that.

really its a huge amout via fiat just in 24 hours its mean they will play with steem and sbd market with pump and dump
but how many time for always?

The South Korean exchange knows something we don't.maybe they have a time machine to see into the future.

You don't need a time machine to see that the swing trades are making them fistfuls of money and there are bag-holders at every peak. I'd really like to know how much of that krw is net inflows into the exchange and how vetted those transfers really are. If any of this was natural growth in the platform we would see a lottttt more Korean users than we do now, yes they're the leading country by % of new users recently but none of that can account for the rest of the madness. I guess their leaders weren't wrong when they called crypto a full-on mania taking over the country.

Your work is great you have a lot of research. @dragosroua kept it up.

Is it not a good trend?

it's very gnostic post..thanks for sharing with us. it's a good information thank you..keep it up.

Today steem price increase up...i am so happy

This is an important post.
thanks for sharing

Interesting, but what I don´t understand is why you think, that if these volume numbers are fake, this would crash the price? Many other sites don´t even include the Korean exchanges data. I would say, that these volumes are most definitely fake and I don´t see a reason, why this should effect the price.

Very Interesting read, Keep on updating.
Following as subscription.

just can't able to understand what happened within a single day breaking all the trend records going up up and above

all the time i read what you write about crypto or steem thanks for information !!

literally, people are buying huge amounts of STEEM with hard cash

Yes, I’m learning how to read the charts; and, noticed today that someone bought $15K of STEEM. This vertical rise is indicative of someone with a serious belief in the future of this currency; or, pumping for another dump.

social phenomenon unfolding.

I’d like to think this phenomenon has an explanation associated with the instability of impending talks of war in the Korean regions.

Never ignore North Korea. While we’re looking at South Korea; it very well could be powered by money laundered from it's attention North of them. I recently read where North Korea is 40B strong in BTC.

Lastly, here is a very interesting post addressing the upbit exchange. Even though it’s archived, it gives readers a chance to learn a bit about this exchange.

Thanks for this thought-provoking post.


very congratulations to all its very good information

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