Bithumb, South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, alongside Pay, a mobile payment service provider, has partnered up and will work together to provide transaction facilities at 6000 business outlets in the country. Similarly, the South Korean exchange has also partnered with Yeogi Eottae, the country’s largest hotel booking platform, to allow customers the option to book hotel rooms by using cryptocurrency.
When asked about the reason behind these current ventures, a Bithumb spokesperson states, “[it is to] ensure that spending cryptocurrencies is as easy as spending fiat money or cash.” The integration of cryptocurrency into the mainstream economy could help the government collect additional tax revenue.
However, there is the possibility that these actions were taken as a response to the strident rhetoric by government officials earlier this year. For example, a government official stated that a ban on ICOs was quick to come, but no such legislation came after. What’s more ironic is that the governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, Choe Heung-Sik, surprisingly legalized the acceptance of cryptocurrency in normal transactions.
Regardless, the main question is whether or not digital currency will have an impact if it is introduced to the mainstream economy? Well, for starters, we know that South Korea has a huge impact on the cryptocurrency market. A fact which can be easily demonstrated by recollecting how cryptocurrency prices crashed when coinmarketcap.com - a platform that provides an average of crypto prices from multiple exchanges - excluded South Korean exchanges from their calculation.
Last year, South Korea was one of the more prominent names related to cryptocurrency trading and accounted for a significant portion of the trading dealt in three of the highest value digital currencies.
Considering the pace, the country has taken regarding its advancement with cryptocurrency, many are of the opinion that it might become the first crypto-powered nation on earth.
But still, it is worth considering that the digital currencies are yet to be legalized in the country. Currently, regulators and legislators are only focused on ensuring that the decentralized currency isn’t used to aid money laundering efforts.