FTX Wreckage Washes Ashore in South Korea

Busan's ambition to be a crypto hub took a hit.

FTX Wreckage Washes Ashore in South Korea

Photo: BWB 2022.  Credit: Busan Ilbo.

Cryptocurrency has been a major force in South Korea, with some of the largest digital tokens - and most spectacular failures - happening in the country. (See previous coverage, “TerraUSD’s Dictatorship Connection.”) Small wonder, then, that the bankruptcy of FTX, the second largest crypto exchange in the world, has affected South Korea as well. As many as 20k Koreans who have invested on the FTX platform are likely to see much of their holdings on the exchange evaporate.

FTX’s implosion also left South Korea’s local governments with egg on their faces. Busan 부산, South Korea’s second-largest city built largely on port and shipping, has been endeavoring to reinvent itself as an international financial hub. (See Starter Kit, “Get to Know Busan.”)

Just last month on October 28, the city held BWB 2022, “Blockchain Week in Busan,” with FTX as one of the major participants. Busan has been pushing to open a global digital asset exchange by late next year, but the bankruptcy of FTX - one of the partners in that effort - and overall depression in the crypto market will likely put a damper on the plan.

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