One of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb, is partnering with mobile payment service provider ‘Pay’s’ to support crypto payments at 6,000 merchant outlets across the country. A Bithumb official told Korea Times that Bithumb has “taken a landmark step”.
The deal was struck on Monday and involves 200 individual, franchised brands to adopt the service at 6,000 shops. The brands include; ‘Sulbing’, ‘Café Droptop’ and a candle store called ‘Yankee Candle’.
Bithumb and ‘Pay’s’ aim to roll the service out to 8,000 outlets by the end of 2018. According to Bithumb this is part of their aim to create an “environment in which cryptocurrencies are used extensively”.
South Korea’s appetite for crypto-assets has been very strong over the past year and many crypto-assets have been trading at a premium of 50% vs US markets at the peaks of the crypto market rally in December 2017. However, as the markets have cooled the 'Kimchi Premium' as dropped and is currently around 5%.
Whether the demand for speculating on crypto-assets will translate into spending them is yet to be seen. However, it undoubtedly marks a positive step in the adoption of crypto-assets into the vibrant South Korean economy.