Over the last two months, the price of Aptos (APT) has skyrocketed more than 500%, surging from US$3 at the start of the year to a new all time high of US$19.92 on January 26. When APT was first launched, it was one of the most hated cryptocurrencies to have ever hit the market.
So, it came as a bit of surprise when a number of major traders from the crypto community labelled APT one of the best performing tokens of this years’ surprise bull run. What was the reason for APT’s face-melting rally? A bunch of crypto investors from Korea kinda turned Aptos into a memecoin…
South Koreans drove the price of Aptos skywards
According Alex Shin, the cofounder of crypto venture capital firm Hashed, Aptos’ three-letter ticker ‘APT’ has been adopted as a funny take on owning an ‘apartment’ amongst Korean crypto investors.
Housing affordability in major South Korean cities like Seoul, pose serious concerns to many young first-time home buyers, who speak of prices of apartment “tripling” in certain regions since 2017. So, instead of owning an apartment for real, they could own the next best thing, a digital apartment in the form of APT.
While many remain sceptical that a crew of Korean’s taking the piss out of owning an apartment could be the real reason behind the meteoric surge of Aptos in recent months, there’s actually a lot of hard numbers that give support to this thesis.
South Koreans are already well known in crypto circles for their ability to “pump” memecoins. As crypto analyst Colin Wu says:
“Pumping up altcoins is one of the traditions in the Korean community.”Colin Wu
It’s not just rumours of a South Korean appetite for memecoin-pumping degeneracy that drove markets, it turns out Koreans were actually buying APT at size.
According to data from South Korea’s largest crypto exchange Upbit, the 24-hour trading volume of APT to South Korean Won (KRW) on January 28 (the day APT reached its all-time-high) exceeded the sum of all the daily trading volume on Binance, with the total daily trading of APT on Upbit reaching a staggering US$566 million.
In January, volumes across trades for APT/KRW accounted for 12% of all trading activity which suggests that retail buyers in Korea drove much of the action that saw the price of Aptos surge throughout January and February.
Why is Aptos so popular in Korea?
Aptos seems to understand that Korean crypto investors are some of the most convicted, with the Aptos Foundation releasing a white paper written in Korean, one of the only cryptocurrency foundations to do so. When we couple this with the fact that Aptos is backed by a number of South Korean venture capital firms, including Hashed, Hive and YG, and the foundation choosing to launch a global hackathon in Seoul, we can start to see why its so popular in the country.
As a result of Aptos’ Korea-first policy, a number of South Korean investors were also the first to recipients of a substantial airdrop that was issued to early Aptos users in late-October last year when the token was changing hands for just US$8.
Aptos Foundation Users who completed a specific application or minted a ‘testnet’ NFT were eligible to claim Aptos tokens, and according to Aptos’s existing community data a total of US$20 million worth of APT was airdropped to a total of 110,235 participants.