Celo Korea 2023 Summary

Celo Korea is new to the Celo Community and we represent a unique and dynamic market. This summary came out a bit longer, as we wanted to try and share more visibility into how different Korea and consequently, broader Asia Pacific communities are. Thank you and Happy New Years!


Celo Korea is 4 months old.

We kicked off officially, August 31, 2023 with the mission to localize CELO’s core message and build educational content to identify and engage our community. Our goal was to find alignment with impact organizations and also distance Celo from purely speculative crypto narratives - which is especially mainstream locally here in Korea. Admittedly, this has been somewhat tricky.

Launched CeloKorea.com and our NaverBlog as our landing site and also CeloKoreaMedium and got ownership of legacy telegram CeloKorea and a new, announcements-only Celokoreaupdates that we just opened. We also have CeloKoreaTwitter. Impressions across the board, we’re estimating under 10k as we’re still new.

Celo was represented across 10 events locally with Korea Blockchain Week (KBW) being the main event as Rene was in Seoul to represent. And 2 in Japan, WebX being largest web3 event in Japan.

We’ve localized and published a total of 34 pieces - along with 2 pilot hackathons and secured good coverage from events.

We’re set up nicely for 2024 with team revamping following all of the lessons learned in the past few months.

On the builder/partnership front, we’ve engaged a handful of communities, but this area will likely be longer cycles and we’re still deep in ideation phase to see if there are associations we can align with, more on that below.


Grant Approval Date: August 3rd

Grant Received: August 31st

303,029 CELO at $0.453. This is $137,272 USD, we converted all of our CELO to stables before the big run-up.

About 43.7% of budget remains after settling everything for December 23’.

We’re running well underbudget having taken a slight conservative approach following potential hostility in Korea from regulators around burgercoin etc. (more on this below). Sentiment seem to have improved for 2024 along with market.

Initial Conditions in Korea

Celo engagement in Korea has been inactive the past few years. Last visit from foundation was 2019 (pre-covid) and community engagement has fallen since. Blogs and Press release that covered Celo amounted to single digits per year.

Retail interest however – Korea alone accounts for 30%+.

It’s not immediately obvious on the outside but there are a lot of regulatory hostility locally. And Celo to date has done an amazing job of keeping entity and foundation, community fund all in order. It’s important that we don’t position Celo Korea as another “coin projects chasing price action”.

Progress Against Initial Proposal

4 area of focus for Celo Korea.

Content Localization - Going well, chasing more impression.
Community - Events went well, community channel needs work.
PR and Education - Press coverage on track. Participated in 2 hackathons, more events to come.
Partnerships/Product - Actively engaged in the impact community and looking forward to doubling down in that front. This will be a multi-year effort.

Content Localization

We have 3 types of content here at Celo Korea.

1.) Key Celo Announcements/Press/Previous Milestones, largely from Celo In the Press.
2.) Blogs from the broader Celo Ecosystem (Europe, US, LATAM etc)
*We would love to take some of the video summaries from other regions and dub into Korean!
3.) Content from Celo Korea.
*Education series “Exploring Celo” will be produced bi-weekly. First chapter: overall intro

Collectively, we’ve published 34 articles and we estimate to have under 10,000 impressions, but felt it was important to have available for SEO as CELO searches on Naver (Koreas top search engine) often turned up nothing. Most articles are up on Celo Korea website and our Medium Blog.


Our initial goal was to manage existing channels, this being telegram and possibly a kakao channel (the dominate messaging app locally). But we’ve since opted to engage distribute on twitter more, even though Korea has very low twitter penetration. For several reasons:

The legacy telegram channel was toxic and not something Celo Korea can engage directly as primary interest there was price action. This has led to some hostility, as we are unable/unwilling to engage directly around those conversations, but these users numbers are in the single digits and shouldn’t take away from our goals.

Ownership of the legacy Celo Channel was finally handed off mid December from Nonce Classic. They removed “official” and we’ll be migrating to a new updates channel to forward Celo Korea’s Tweets and other mentions of Celo in Korea media/KOL channels – encouraging community members to learn and discuss Celo’s recent efforts, rather than just about price on CEX. Community members in Korea please look forward to announcements and DM with inquiries on Celo Korea Twitter.

Our efforts around identifying ReFi interest groups to align with Celo has been slower than expected, as within the web3 ecosystem, this is still a nascent category, especially in Korea. Thus, we’ve pivoted to doing more representation within the more traditional, ESG aligned startups etc.

In general, sentiment and engagement pattern matches market activity in Korea.

Community Events in Korea

In total, Celo representation at events in Korea amounted to 10. We’ve highlighted the most meaningful ones below.

Celo X Crypto For Good Happy Hour

Korea Blockchain Week Photos Drive

1. Secured Speaking Engagement for Rene + Hope

    1. EthCon Seoul Judge (Rene)*
    1. DSRV Sarang Bang*

Seoul ReFi Event Photos Drive

PR & Education

There isn’t an easy way to track impressions here in Korea unfortunately but broadly speaking we categorize press coverage into 3 buckets:

1. Alignment with Celo’s vision (ie, ReFi, global news. etc), 20+ articles good!
2. Price action (more coverage/interest here than anticipated), ~10 + articles surprising!?
3. Local news (announcements and association with broader negative crypto sentiment), 20+ articles good/bad but we should be careful.

Key Coverages:

Celo Leaps to Layer 2… ‘Enhancing Convenience with Mobile’ (Coindesk Korea, Sep 12)

  • Coverage following Rene’s interview. ReFi and why L2 etc.

[Upbit Investor Protection] What if Blockchain is Utilized to Implement Universal Basic Income? (Upbit, Aug 24)

  • Upbit is the dominate CEX in Korea with 90% marketshare (Binance has 2%) Upbit has a “investors protection education blog” their goal being to educate Korean retail investors, Celo was referenced along side Universal Basic Income.

Domestic Cryptocurrency Coin Daily Trading Volume Reaches 3.4717 Trillion KRW (Topstarnews, Dec 18)

  • On Dec 18, South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges reported a total trading volume of 3.4717 trillion KRW. In this vibrant market, Celo stood out with an 18.6% increase, showcasing its growing presence and investor interest.

Congressman Min Byung-duk: DAXA Exchanges Including Upbit Show No Response After Listing Overseas 'Burger Coin (Blockmedia, Oct 11)
Burger Coin’ Analysis Series to be Released – Featuring Avalanche, Celo, Sui, Blur, Arbitrum, Aptos… (Blockmedia, Oct 16)

  • Earlier in October, during a congressional hearing - a member of the parliament coined the meme “Burger Coin” referring to American crypto projects that came to Korea and subsequently dropped on price. Sui was named and this caused Sui to drop considerably – on the list they shared, CELO was #3.
    South Korean Parliament is no joke, so treading lightly and doing the right things matters here and this is one of the primary reasons why we’ve opted to switch and migrate from our legacy telegram community channel.


Our original goals were to educate new audiences around Celo via association with ReFi. Winning the web3 audiece locally with ReFi was too niche, so we’ve opted to broader conferences for positioning and began engaging impact oriented gatherigngs, events associations etc. Overall, this feels meaningful to us and we hope to drive this area further.

Some highlights include:

KBW (mentioned above)
ReFi Tokyo
WebX (Tokyo)
KOICA Alumni Meetup
Incheon Hackathon
Zero Waste Festival ‘Your Bottle Week’
*this was a experiment done by Bottle Week is a social impact project and this project was aimed at Shinchon province with the theme around social economies. We took part as sponsor.


Partnerships are longer cycles, we’re actively engaging impact oriented firms, government associations and events to build our presence.

Some thoughts on “Impact in Korea” and Why Celo.

The two big areas of interest when it comes to impact in Korea and where a lot of government interests are:

*we may face some criticism here but please keep in mind, we’re trying to cater towards a global audience.

Active War with North Korea

1. There are non-profits that help N. Korean defectors. Is there a way to educate them on web3?
2. In someways, the threat of N. Korea is political leverage that S. Korea for global markets. --There’s lots of complexities here, but in general, is there is a ReFi angle here is the question we’re debating - probably too early.

Highest Suicide Rates and Lowest Birthrates in the world.

1. There a lot of structural challenges in this front, but some of the conversations we’re having is around orphans, who have the highest suicide rates. Largely because they struggle with getting education or getting integrated into the existing very homogenous and uniform society like Korea.
2. Some of the interesting themes in Africa like Ethereum foundation + Celo efforts to educate and create jobs might be interesting entry points locally.
3. Low birthrates - South Korea has the lowest birthrate in the world with 0.77 births per woman. (in the capital city of Seoul, this is .54 births per woman. This is a complicated issue with a ton of variables to consider, but in a nutshell:

As the 2nd fastest growing GDP in the world after Singapore, this in someways results in generational delta becoming stretched, as youth and parents live in completely different times. Family culture, social support, and most obviously, the cost of raising a family in Korea (with unreasonable education standards) and environmental issues (pollution etc) are some of the more common theme around why families aren’t opting for “no children”. There are numerous foundations and non profits tackling these issues and we’re hoping to find ways for Celo ecosystem to be involved here.

Some of the foundations (not official names, literal translations of their korean names fyi!) we have engaged with in the past few months.

Han Africa Foundation (largest african community in Korea)
Impact Ventures events
Education Association
And other government groups.

On the web3 front, we have a pilot partnership with wepin wallet, a local wallet abstraction startup. They opted to offer free technical support and integrations for impact startups looking to integrate a crypto wallet.
Wepin Wallet & Celo Korea Unite for Eco-Social Projects via NFT Tech(It-b, Dec 1)

Reflection & Outlook for 2024

We believe impact is global and this crypto primitive has the potential to address many of our social and civil challenges - the past few months have led us to think more about how to balance that mission objective, with the cultural delta of crypto status quo in Korea.

To our legacy community members in Korea - we apologize for the lack of communication. We really are unable to approach crypto like other speculative coins. Celo Korea wholeheartedly believes if we achieve our aforementioned goals, the net outcome will be great. Even though alignment may fee off and the path to success might differ, we hope you’ll consider us as partners and continue to drive towards something more productive and impactful.

Look forward to more regular updates on Celo Forum from Celo Korea. We’ve gotten several inquiries about Korea/APAC markets in general from Celo projects. If that’s an area of interest, please reach out to us via DM.

For 2024, we’re aiming to attend one of the major Celo hubs. Being the only APAC group we feel some calibration would help our causes considerably – and we’re confident there will be lots of collaboration opportunities ahead, especially after seeing some of the updates from other regions.

Also Japan is showing some promise. If it is in the budget, co-hosting something small to begin with sounds like a good start.

Thank you!

Drafted by@shinlabs with edits from @hope and @celokorea contributors.