For many low-income young South Koreans, it was an an entirely new way of making a living.
The cryptocurrency market made a ton of people rich during its early years, with the value of Bitcoin reaching incredible heights.
But what goes up must come down: 2018 was a harsh wake-up call for those invested. Many Koreans who invested in cryptocurrencies lost many thousands of dollars in the crash, the New York Times reports — but still hope for a rebound.
South Korea remains the third-largest market for cryptocurrencies after the U.S. and Japan, with a side dish of crypto pop culture that hasn’t been diluted by the market meltdown. For instance, contestants compete to build blockchain businesses on “Block Battle,” a TV show that calls itself the “world’s first blockchain survival TV show,” with viewers at home voting in real-time like “American Idol.”
“Who’s the next Satoshi?” the moderator asks rhetorically at the top of the show, a nod to the nebulous forefather of blockchain tech.
The show aired its first episode back in October 2018 — a terrible period, ironically, for crypto prices.
While many Koreans are still counting their losses, the dreams of becoming rich through cryptocurrencies is still very much alive.
But the harsh reality — including numerous hacks and scandals involving South Korean crypto exchanges — should really be a sobering wake up call.
READ MORE: Cryptocurrency Was Their Way Out of South Korea’s Lowest Rungs. They’re Still Trying. [New York Times]
More on cryptocurrencies: Did a Crypto CEO Fake His Own Death to Abscond With $190 Million