While some furious South Korean crypto investors are readying multiple lawsuits for Do Kwon and the masterminds of the troubled terra (LUNA) protocol, others in the country are snapping up LUNA tokens at rock-bottom prices – even though the coin is currently being delisted from most major exchanges in the country.
Per Chosun, data from the country’s biggest exchanges shows that the number of customers with LUNA holdings in wallets linked to trading platforms has “more than tripled” since the recent price plunge.
Global LUNA prices have plummeted almost 100% from an all-time high of over USD 119 in April this year to an average of USD 0.00014534 (8:00 UTC), per CoinGecko tada.
All five of South Korea’s licensed fiat KRW-trading exchanges have announced they will cease support for LUNA, with some to halt LUNA operations as soon as tomorrow (May 20).
But Chosun reported that “speculation” on a LUNA recovery appears to have sparked a last-minute shopping spree among some investors, who appear to believe that snapping up tokens at low prices could pay off at a later date – particularly with Kwon apparently determined to breathe new life into the project.
What is more, phenomenal demand for the coins has actually increased the price of LUNA on domestic platforms to the extent that a kimchi premium – usually reserved for cryptoasset like bitcoin (BTC) – appears to have emerged for LUNA.
Per Bithumb – which halts all LUNA trades on May 27 – almost 7.2 million LUNA tokens have changed hands in the past 24 hours, and prices dropped from around USD 0.6 to USD 0.4 at the time of writing.
In the Chosun article, which was published in the early afternoon (KST) of May 19, the article’s author noted that prices on the Upbit exchange were over seven times higher than LUNA prices on international platforms like Binance.
Janet Cho, a Seoul-based journalist, told Cryptonews.com:
“This is absolutely typical behavior for some South Korean investors. After stock market crashes of similar magnitudes, some investors rush and pick up shares at super-low prices. It’s a wild punt on a rank outsider, to use horse racing terminology, but super-low prices are sometimes too attractive for some less-risk averse individuals.”
Chosun added that some South Korean traders are seeking to avoid skyrocketing prices by buying on international platforms such as Binance. Others still, it seems, are looking to make fast profits by buying abroad for lower rates and then selling high on domestic platforms.
Due to Travel Rule-related restrictions on transactions, some are being forced to make multiple low-value transactions – rather than larger one-off transfers – in order to avoid being flagged as potentially suspicious traders.
Ominously, perhaps, Chosun warned:
“Some have pointed out that [domestic] exchanges are also responsible for the continued speculative trading of LUNA. It said that they have not warned investors or restricted LUNA trading.”
This echoes sentiments already expressed by MPs, who have claimed that exchanges failed to make a concerted, joint response to the market plunge. One politician called on the exchanges to come to parliament and face a hearing at the hands of a financial committee.