On April 12, Yuga Labs’ ERC-20 token ApeCoin (APE) briefly surged to $90.00 from around $4.20 apiece on the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit before most gains were wiped out in a sharp sell-off. However, the token is still trading at $10.90 apiece at the time of publication, representing a significant premium of around $4.50 compared to other exchanges.
Currently, the only APE trading pair listed on Upbit is BTC/APE; it represents only a tiny portion of the coin’s trading volume, with around 4 million tokens changing hands during the day compared to APE’s overall circulation of 369 million tokens. It appears the spike was attributed to an overall retail frenzy and constriction of available trading routes on the exchange. On the same day, Upbit suspended the deposits and withdrawals of Ether (ETH) and ERC-20 tokens, pending the completion of the Ethereum network’s Shanghai upgrade.
As a result, APE, an ERC-20 token regarded by some as a memecoin, could not be sold nor purchased into other ERC-20 tokens such as Tether (USDT) and ETH by Upbit’s users, leaving the Bitcoin (BTC)-to-APE (BTC/USD) trading pair the only available option. Since the rally, crypto price aggregators such as CoinMarketCap have flagged Upbit’s APE pricing as an “outlier” when computing aggregate prices.
Cointelegraph reported last year that Upbit had achieved a near monopoly in South Korea’s crypto exchange landscape, with total assets of $8 billion and 80% of the domestic trading volume. However, authorities are reportedly considering regulatory restrictions to tame the size of the firm’s operations.
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