South Korea

There has been an influx in the number of young investors in South Korea flocking to the cryptocurrency sector, with a local publication stating that young investors in their 20s and 30s had increasingly invested in cryptocurrencies.

However, the rise comes amid a rise in youth debts and the number of individual bankruptcies.

Crypto owners aged 20-30 in South Korea triple

The Korea Securities Depository published data showing that the number of crypto investors in their 20s and 30s had increased from 23.7% towards the end of 2019 to 35.7% by the end of 2021.

Additionally, the total number of investors had also doubled from around 6.11 million towards the end of 2019 to 13.73 million by the end of 2021. The growth in the number of new investors can also be seen in the statistics of several crypto social trading platforms in the country.

According to a local publication, data from users on Upbit shows evidence of the high trading volumes by investors. As of October 2020, 1,796,000 households were using the Upbit exchanges, while in October 2021, the number of households using the exchange reached 5,394,000, triple the amount reported during the previous year.

The local publication also added that young investors did not discriminate between domestic, foreign, and coins. Data by the Financial Supervisory Service in August 2022 revealed that by the end of 2021, there were 4.91 million overseas stock accounts, representing a six-times gain from the 800,000 reported towards the end of 2019.

There was also an increase in the number of overseas stock accounts that were up by over eight times from the 320,000 reported towards the end of 2019. The number increased to 2.54 million at the end of 2021.

Debts among the young increase

The report also mentioned a notable increase in the debt levels of young people in their 30s and the younger generation that had acquired loans from at least three financial institutions. This number was 30% higher than what was reported five years ago.

A report by the Korea Financial Research Institute revealed that towards the end of April 2022, there were 4.51 million debtors in the financial sector, with the total amount of debt standing at 598.8 trillion won.

Additionally, the number of multiple debtors had surged by 8.3%, equivalent to 344,000, from what was reported towards the end of 2017. The total debt amount had also increased by 22.1%.

The multi-debt levels among the young population aged below 30 also increased significantly. The debt levels surpassed 158.1 trillion won, representing a 32.9% gain compared to five years ago.

According to the Korea Financial Services Agency, the rapid increase in multiple debts was caused by a frenzy of stock and virtual assets investments amid low interest rates before and after the pandemic.

There was also a notable increase in the number of young people filing for individual rehabilitation. Personal rehabilitation application trend data by the Supreme Court shows that the individual rehabilitation applicants in their 20s had increased from 10,307 in 2019 to 11,907 in 2021.

Between January and June this year, the total number of applications received was 6364. The total number of applications for individual rehabilitation for investors in their 20s is expected to surpass 12,000 this year.

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