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South Korea: Interest in Crypto Equal Between Younger and Older Age Groups

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read

The authors of a detailed report on the profile of crypto investors in South Korea have concluded that Crypto Fever 2.0 has been marked by a spike in interest among older age groups – with those in their 40s and 50s expressing a similar amount of interest in tokens as the ever-crypto-keen 20-39 age group.

Source: Adobe/anekoho

The findings were published in a report compiled by the newspaper Hankook Ilbo, in association with the Institute for Social Data Science at POSTECH, one of South Korea’s biggest technology-focused universities. Its authors used Big Data solutions to analyze news articles, search engine data and analyze comments on media posts – to attempt to see if there were any differences between Crypto Fever 1.0 (in the period May 2017 to May 2018) and now. The most recent data was taken from the period October 202 to May 2021.

The findings revealed that while in the 2017-2018 period the overwhelming majority of crypto-related searches were conducted by those aged 20-39, in the 2020-2021 period, there was almost an even split of searches made by both age groups. Those aged 40-59 were also almost as active in sharing and commenting on crypto-related news stories.

Even more interesting, perhaps is the fact that crypto interest’s all-time-high in South Korea took place neither in the Crypto Fever 1.0 nor the latest surge – but actually occurred on April 2, 2019, following an April Fool’s article about the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approving the listing of a bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund.

By far the most-searched-for term over the course of both periods was “bitcoin,” which was also the word most used in comments on news articles. But in second place for searches was “coin,” followed by “mining.” In second place for high-frequency words used in comments, meanwhile, was “cryptocurrency,” with “money” in third place.

The word “government” featured in the top five for comments, but did not feature at all in a long list of web search terms.

Over time, however, it appears that people have started making slightly different searches and crypto-related comments: The report’s authors created word clouds for the highest-frequency words used in Crypto Fevers 1 and 2 by all age groups. In the first instance, words like “blockchain,” [crypto exchange] “Bithumb,” “Ministry of Justice,” “illegal” and “free tokens” were most common – but in the second, these all vanished, and were replaced by terms like “potential value,” [rival trading platform] “Upbit,” [the ruling] “Democratic Party,” “dogecoin (DOGE)” and “adults.”

The report’s authors used data from the search engine Naver’s Data Lab, which compiles demographic data on internet activity, as well as new Nielsen data on over 45,000 recent searches related to cryptoassets and almost 140,000 recent comments on crypto-related news articles.
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