South Koreans Can Spend Cryptocurrency at Restaurants and Cafes

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Bithumb, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency-to-fiat exchange and the world’s 6th largest digital currency trading platform behind Bitfinex, has installed cryptocurrency-accepting kiosks across the country, at restaurants, cafes, stores, and malls.

Recently, Bitcoin.com CEO and early cryptocurrency investor Roger Ver revealed his demonstration of the Bithumb kiosks in South Korea, which processes payments in 12 cryptocurrencies listed on the platform that include bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, EOS, Ripple, and more.

During an interview with ZDNet Korea, the Bithumb team emphasized that while the cryptocurrency market as a whole has been growing at an exponential rate, the adoption of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum by merchants, stores, and retailers has not risen proportional to overall market growth.

By installing cryptocurrency kiosks at fast food chains, restaurants, cafes, bars, and malls, the Bithumb team explained that the adoption of cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange and a legitimate asset class will increase in the mid to long-term.

Lee Jeong-ah, the vice president at Bithumb, stated that the team behind Bithumb and other major cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea consider themselves as the new generation banks and are planning to evolve the cryptocurrency market into a regulated financial market that appeals to the mainstream.

Specifically, Lee emphasized that Bithumb aims to evolve into a financial institution that allows users, clients, and investors to trade cryptocurrencies, send and receive money, and a balanced cryptocurrency-based banking platform.

Already, Bithumb has secured several partnerships to integrate cryptocurrencies and increase their adoption throughout the country. WeMakePrice, the second largest e-commerce platform in South Korea that is utilized by millions of users on a monthly basis, has started the integration process of Bithumb’s cryptocurrency payment service to accept 12 cryptocurrencies on Bithumb’s platforms from its existing users.

This month, Bithumb also secured a partnership with OneCubeMarketing, to release a service that allows anyone to purchase and sell cryptocurrencies with coupons. Essentially, like gift cards or prepaid mobile phone load, cryptocurrency users will be able to purchase coupons online or at convenience store to buy or sell cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

In South Korea, the largest hotel booking platform and second biggest e-commerce platform have started to integrate cryptocurrencies due to their partnerships with Bithumb. Soon, the majority of restaurants and cafes in Seoul will be equipped with cryptocurrency kiosks, as seen in the photograph shared by Ver.

By easing the process of transacting with cryptocurrencies, local companies in South Korea’s cryptocurrency sector are trying to improve the adoption of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to ensure their long-term growth.

Previously, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz stated that unless cryptocurrencies become adopted by retailers, digital currencies will not be able to evolve into the reserve currencies of the world. At this pace, it is possible that the popularity of cryptocurrencies in South Korea and Japan as legitimate currencies increase to a point in which the South Korean government, like the Japanese authorities, will have to acknowledge cryptocurrencies as a legal currencies.