‘2017’ saw a monumental shift in terms of Bitcoin volumes, where growing cryptocurrency adoption has risen significantly over the past year. The opportunity to recognize their contribution to the Bitcoin volumes and their growing adoption was provided when Chinese Exchanges started imposing transaction fees on their trades. The volumes dwindled significantly and the Exchanges’ decision to ban withdrawals came as the final nail in the coffin. While things were looking rough for Bitcoin, other Asian countries stepped up with unbelievable adoption levels and supported the currency prices. While Japan has been the fore-runner, another country that went unnoticed in this bid would be South Korea. Let’s delve deep into Korea’s Bitcoin story:
The remittance market:
The remittance game has been strong with South East Asian countries as they capture 60% of the remittance market in the world. The South Korea-Philippines corridor hosts remittances startups that bank on Bitcoin to make the transfer. This has earned the startups a popular nickname called ‘Rebittance startups’, whose number has been increasing significantly in South East Asia. Most of the startups aren’t even present in the country but make rebittances possible over messaging apps like Facebook messenger and Viber. The Korea-Philippines corridor covers 20% of South East Asian remittances and are cheap when compared with Western Union or other traditional cross border transfer methods.
The efforts of Korbit:
Korbit is the first South Korean Bitcoin exchange that has worked relentlessly for mainstream adoption of the cryptocurrency. The exchange has 33,500 registered Bitcoin users with and is one of the top two exchanges by volume. The exchange offers a unique service called ‘Hyphen’ where businesses can send payments to any bank account in over 30 countries globally using Bitcoin. South Korea is the hub of tech startups that have revolutionized payments sector and fintech. Hence Bitcoin adoption hasn’t picked up significantly in the past but thanks to the efforts of Korbit, things are changing now quickly.
The regulations framework:
The Korean government has been very cooperative when it comes to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The Financial services committee has been considering to launch a cryptocurrency of the state that would facilitate transactions and strengthen the Fintech network. They are planning to propose a regulatory framework for Bitcoin based businesses in 2017 and monitor the currency’s movements in and out of the country. For a country with an annual remittance measure of $6.7 Billion, Bitcoin with encouraging regulations in place would be a good catalyst for growth.