Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts are well aware that the prices on CoinMarketCap.com look skewed. This is mainly because the site has continued to factor South Korean prices into its global averages. Although that is only normal, it also made the markets look a lot healthier than they really were. As a result, the platform is now no longer including South Korean prices in its averages for all currencies. The trading volume numbers will still count, though.
Coinmarketcap Makes a Much-Needed Change
In the past few months, all cryptocurrencies have seen their market capitalizations go up quite spectacularly. In a lot of cases, the individual prices per currency or token were nowhere near what most people could fetch for them on the exchanges. That was mainly due to South Korean exchanges including Bithumb, Korbit, Coinone, and a few others. All of these trading platforms artificially inflated prices and market caps, as they were trading at a very steep premium over the rest of the world.
As a result, we saw Bitcoin’s price reported at over US$18,000 for quite some time, even though the Western world only came close to that level on one occasion. Right now, the same Bitcoin price is listed on CoinMarketCap at a value of US$15,464, which is slightly more realistic. It does represent a massive 5% “decline” compared to 24 hours ago, but that’s just due to South Korean prices being excluded on CMC.
For those unaware, one Bitcoin is valued at over US$23,000 in South Korea right now. That same Bitcoin, when exchanged for US dollars, will get you US$15,774 at best. It is evident this discrepancy across exchanges has been a problem for quite some time now. There was no solution other than to exclude the South Korean exchange prices for the foreseeable future. It is not the first time we’ve seen Asian trading platforms trade major cryptocurrencies at much higher values compared to the rest of the world, mind you.
About a year ago, Chinese exchanges dominated the trading volume for Bitcoin and most altcoins. At that time, Chinese traders were also paying a premium for every coin, although it rarely exceeded 10%. In South Korea, that premium is now close to 50%, which is absolutely unacceptable. No one can take advantage of these arbitrage opportunities either, and thus the prices will not be driven down in the near future. The use of Korean exchanges is subject to very strict rules and requirements, which makes them unattractive to Western investors.
As a result, all cryptocurrencies which were propped up by South Korean exchanges have taken a big hit in terms of their prices and market caps. This change was to be expected, though, and CoinMarketCap now displays the “proper” averages for all currencies again. Although there will always be some discrepancies in all trading markets, the average prices should now be much closer to the actual values at which one could buy or sell these crypto-assets. Since no one can take advantage of the South Korean premium anyway, this change doesn’t matter all that much when looking at the bigger picture.
The big question is how all this will affect cryptocurrencies moving forward. More specifically, things are not looking all that great on the charts less than 24 hours after this change was introduced. Nearly everything is in the red, except for a few outliers. Moreover, the overall cryptocurrency market cap saw nearly US$50 billion removed from its total, which is quite a lot of money. Things can only get better from here on out; that much is evident.