South Korean Retail Investors Expand Overseas Investment Amid Bitcoin Boom

One of the most notable changes in the investment tendencies of South Korean retail investors, often referred to as “South Korean ants,” is the growing interest in Bitcoin and related assets. As Bitcoin’s price hit record highs, surpassing $70,000 per unit and breaking the 100 million KRW mark domestically, the investment fervor has intensified. Particularly, there has been a surge in interest in Bitcoin Spot Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), with Bitcoin ETFs seeing a net inflow of $7 billion (approximately 9 trillion KRW) since January. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, operating a Bitcoin spot ETF, has emerged as a leader in this market by purchasing approximately 200,000 bitcoins within two months.

Domestic individual investors investing in the U.S. market are actively increasing their investments in Bitcoin-related assets. It is estimated that South Korean ants have invested at least $110.36 million (approximately 144.7 billion KRW) in Bitcoin-related stocks this month alone. According to the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, despite significant volatility, including a 10% surge in Bitcoin prices within 24 hours, investors’ interest remains unabated.

Among Bitcoin spot ETFs, BlackRock’s ‘iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT)’ has garnered particular attention. The total assets of IBIT have been estimated at $12.7 billion, a result of Bitcoin’s price rise and the net inflow of investment funds. After its launch, IBIT exceeded $10 billion in total assets within just two months, surpassing the record for the fastest time to reach $10 billion in assets previously held by ‘Invesco QQQ,’ an ETF that tracks the NASDAQ-100 Index.

The increase in domestic investors’ overseas investment in Bitcoin-related stocks is attributed not only to the rise in Bitcoin’s value but also to the fact that while Bitcoin spot ETF transactions are not possible domestically, products that track Bitcoin futures indices are available for trading. This situation acts as a catalyst for South Korean ants to further increase their interest in Bitcoin-related assets, thereby heightening expectations for the future of the Bitcoin market.