Coinbase’s Nasdaq Listing Fuels Frenzy in Korean Crypto Stocks

Youkyung Lee, Bloomberg News

April 6, 2021

The upcoming Nasdaq listing of Coinbase Global Inc. has fueled a frenzy among Korea investors to pile into the nation’s cryptocurrency stocks, making a broker with a minority stake in a local crypto exchange the best-performing large stock year-to-date.

Hanwha Investment & Securities Co. has gained more than 210% so far this year, the best performance among Kospi stocks with more than $1 billion in market value. The brokerage owns a 6.15% stake in Dunamu, which operates the leading South Korean crypto exchange Upbit, according to its regulatory filing in February.

At least for now, Hanwha Investment appears to be Korea’s biggest beneficiary of the latest optimism on digital currencies, fueled by Coinbase’s move to directly list on Nasdaq and speculations that Dunamu can make a similar move as cryptocurrencies become more mainstream.

The Herald Business Newspaper reported on Mar. 30 that Dunamu is exploring a possible listing on the Nasdaq. Later in the same week, Coinbase, the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, set the date for its trading debut to April 14. Since March, Hanwha Investment’s shares have more than doubled.

Other shareholders in Dunamu have also soared this year. Woori Technology Investment Co. has surged about 140% while Kakao Corp. has gained 38%. Each holds about an 8% stake in Dunamu, according to the crypto exchange operator’s latest regulatory filing.