bitcoin’s potential in Seoul (update)
During a bitcoin meeting in Korea, an “Investor” approached me and asked “How many shares of bitcoin do you own?” and the others asked me, “the media said bitcoin is a bubble” or “the media said bitcoin is illegal” or “Why are you stlll into bicoins?” Whenever a person approaches me and asks why the Korean bitcoin industry is not improving, I always tell him or her that there is only one valid reason and that is : Because the majority in Korea trust the media. Since we were young, our “education system” (which completely lost its validity over the last few years) teaches us how “great” the government is and how we cant live without them. Which is also the same reason why Korean men believe the military draft is best for the country and never question any questionable actions from the government as they are “highly respected” in Korea. However, if they really thought about the country, why would they want to take away something that symbolizes peace and freedom? why would they pressure the media to talk sordidly about bitcoin and make bitcoin’s true purpose imperceptible?
Until now, the intransigent majority refuse to admit the power of bitcoin. They either believe bitcoin is “evil” or see it as an investment. However, they always forget to see by themselves and leave out the positive impacts bitcoin is bringing to Korea, and specifically Seoul.
“Korea is big enough for a local market, but its size also forces you to think beyond,” says David Lee from Shakr Media.
“Korea boasts highly skilled developers and engineers, a large pool of business graduates with entrepreneurial flare, a powerful work ethic, and an increased appetite for the unknown and the supersonic rewards that exits like Twitter, WhatsApp and Oculus have proven in the US. Now Koreans want a piece of the action.” Tech in Asia
Seoul, the capital city of Korea is a major technology hub of Asia. Most of the high profile global companies in Seoul are focused in Software development, and more than 10 of these companies are valued at over a billion dollars. Therefore, Seoul is expected to have an active and successful bitcoin industry by the bitcoin analysts in Asia . However, Seoul has failed to meet that expectation and now falls behind countries like Japan and Singapore.
The difference between the bitcoin market in Seoul and other countries like Japan and Singapore is that most of the industry in Seoul is focused on few of the “main” companies/exchanges in Korea, not spread out, like Japan and Singapore. Although there are currently more than 20 merchants accepting bitcoin in Seoul, the bitcoin industry in Korea still has a long way to go.
As said above, the bitcoin industry in Korea is supported by a few startups in Seoul and they are : CoinPlug, KorBit, BitUp, ddengle and a few more.
CoinPlug is currenly the largest bitcoin services startup in Korea, funded by Silicon Valley based VC firms. Since their initial launch back in december of 2013, CoinPlug has developed a multi-service bitcoin startup, providing the biggest bitcoin exchange in Korea, a bitcoin wallet, bitcoin ATMS and even bitcoin POS systems for local merchants. With more than 15 engineers on their team, CoinPlug has become the largest bitcoin services startup in Korea, funding other small startups and bitcoin meetups in Seoul.
There are currently more than 12 bitcoin merchants in Seoul accepting bitcoin using CoinPlug’s bitcoin POS system.
Korbit, one of the largest bitcoin exchange in Korea (falling behind CoinPlug) also secured a $400,000 funding from Tim Draper, AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant, SV Angel’s David Lee and SecondMarket CEO Barry Silbert, who created a Bitcoin Opportunity Fund. The company’s exchange, KorBit has a daily exchange volume of $300,000 with only 0.6% fee on buying and selling bitcoin. With more than 20,000 registered users, the company is seeing a rapidly increasing revenue and profit.
Ddengle is Korea’s largest online bitcoin community, with more than 10,000 daily users. Ddengle users talk about mining, startups and the bitcoin industry in Korea. Ddengle is a great place for bitcoin beginners and developers to ask questions and share their experience with other bitcoin enthusiasts.
As Galaxia added bitcoin as a payment option on their websites, South Koreans will be able to use bitcoin to pay on more than 10,000 domestic and international websites.
Apart from online merchants, there are
37 local merchants in Korea.
Thoughts from the “tech giants” in Korea
Currently, the tech giants of Korea, including Samsung, LG, Hyundai and others have no intention to get into the bitcoin industry. They did publish a “research” about bitcoin 6 months ago, however they concluded the research saying “bitcoin may be successful now, but the future is not clear”.
This is the link to the research published by LG. http://www.lgeri.com/economy/finance/article.asp?grouping=01010300&seq=454
(It’s in Korean)
Although the majority of the media in Korea support the government, some of the large news sites in Korea like Heraldcorp Korea described bticoin as “the infinite evolution” and ” an incredibly rapid development”.
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