How South Korea’s Largest Exchange Plans to Allow Millions to Use Cryptocurrency

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Bithumb, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is on a mission to drastically improve the adoption of digital currencies in the country and evolve into a bank-like business to ensure its users can use cryptocurrencies with ease, like cash.

Kiosks, ATMs, and Major Integrations

In 2018, within a four-month period, Bithumb has secured partnerships with the country’s third largest e-commerce platform, WeMakePrice, and the biggest local hotel booking platform, Yeogi Eottae. Both platforms are expected to integrate all 13 cryptocurrencies listed on the Bithumb cryptocurrency trading platform such as ICON, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Bitcoin Cash within the year.

In an interview with Yonhap, a mainstream media outlet in South Korea, a Bithumb spokesperson stated that the company is currently working with many of the leading companies and online businesses in South Korea apart from WeMakePrice and Yeogi Eottae to assist large-scale businesses in accepting cryptocurrencies.

“Bithumb is currently in talks with a variety of large businesses to ensure users can utilize cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum anywhere with ease, like in Japan.”

In an interview with HanKyoReh, another major newspaper in South Korea, Bithumb said that it has partnered with WeMakePrice to eliminate intermediaries like banks and financial service providers for merchants.

"We're integrating cryptocurrencies to eliminate intermediaries like credit card systems and allow consumers to transact directly.”

Subsequent to securing these two important partnerships, Bithumb revealed on March 10 that it has entered the cryptocurrency kiosk industry to supply fast food chains, restaurants, cafes, and malls with cryptocurrency-accepting kiosks and ATMs.

A statement released by Bithumb read:

"The entry into the kiosk business is meaningful to provide substantial benefits and low-cost rental services to small business owners. We will continue to work in various industries based on Blockchain technology. We will continue to provide opportunities to provide total solutions for small businesses through our partnership.”

Previously, some local businesses like Coinplug, a Tim Draper-backed cryptocurrency wallet and payment processing company, attempted to popularize cryptocurrency ATMs to increase the liquidity of digital assets and ease the process of purchasing and selling cryptocurrencies for beginner users.

Bitcoin ATMs

Coinplug withdrew its Bitcoin ATMs from two locations in Seoul due to lack of demand for the ATMs and the high cost of operating the machines. One of the two Coinplug Bitcoin ATMs was located in Cafe Sedona in Coex, the largest mall in Seoul. The cafe