Bithumb has announced a new partnership with Korea Pay Services in a move meant to promote the use of cryptocurrencies for payments in retail outlets. The partnership will give Bithumb users the ability to use cryptocurrencies to make payments at offline stores.
OVER 6,000 STORES TO BENEFIT
Korea Pay Services is a mobile payment processor that processes electronic payments for 8,000+ retail outlets in South Korea. It became the first domestic company to provide mobile gift certificates in partnership with over 200 franchises. The partnership will enable Bithumb users to pay for products and services at over 6,000 outlets in the country using the cryptocurrency tokens they hold with the exchange.
Mobile apps will be updated with a barcode which will allow users to make payments using digital tokens held with the exchange. According to Bithumb, South Korea has lagged behind other established cryptocurrency markets such as Switzerland and Japan where virtual currencies are already being used for retail payments.
The exchange is the second largest in South Korea behind Upbit, which is backed by the country’s largest messenger app, Kakao. It plans to continue its mission of popularizing the retail use of cryptocurrencies for payments through more collaborations with strategic partners in the coming months. The pilot phase of the program will include over 5,000 stores. The number is expected to rise to over 8,000 stores by the end of the year.
Some of the popular stores where the service will be available include Yankee Candle, DROPTOP, seafood chain Todai, and Sulbing, one of Korea’s most popular dessert shops with over 450 locations.
BITHUMB vs. UPBIT
This partnership will go a long way in strengthening Bithumb as it continues to battle the East Asian nation’s biggest exchange, Upbit, for market dominance. Upbit was established in October 2017, almost three years after Bithumb. However, within three months, it had surpassed Bithumb in daily trading volume. This was fueled by Upbit’s partnership with the US-based Bittrex exchange which enabled Upbit to offer more than 100 currencies. This was much more than Bithumb, which trades about a dozen currencies. The backing of Upbit by Kakao, one of South Korea’s most dominant and renowned brands, also went a long way in instilling confidence among many.
Upbit now handles twice as much trading volume as does Bithumb, according to the latest data from cryptocurrency markets aggregator CoinMarketCap.com. Bithumb has continued to better its services so as to retain its position in the market. In January, it announced a partnership with WeMakePrice, an online retailer, that would enable customers to pay for goods using cryptocurrencies.
Bithumb also recently announced the expansion of its customer service centers, which have witnessed unprecedented growth. The company says it now has eight centers which are receiving more than 100 customers every day.