Although Korea would not be the place most people think of when discussing Bitcoin, cryptocurrency is making its way into the heart of Seoul. Various ATM-like devices show a Bitcoin Accepted logo on them, with payments being handled by CoinPlug. An intriguing concept, especially when considering it is offered on the same devices that allow for regular ATM withdrawals.
Bitcoin and Banking Come Together In Seoul
Seeing a bank ATM near a subway station in any country is nothing out of the ordinary these days. Consumers will need to withdraw cash at certain points in their lives, and since metro stations are very busy places, there is some good business to be done in those locations. Operating an ATM in such stations can be a lucrative business for independent owners.
— Michael Perklin (@mperklin) September 27, 2016
What is rather peculiar is how several of the Seoul devices have added a new feature in recent months. They all seem to process Bitcoin transactions as well. For now it is unclear if they are one-way or two-way ATMs, although the first option seems more likely. Then again, these machines have to dispense cash for regular banking transactions as well.
Independent ATMs are a booming market in Korea, and one Reddit user points out how Coinplug does offer a Bitcoin to cash option. However, since it is unknown how many of these devices have enabled the feature, it seems safe to assume that selling Bitcoin should be possible at some machines.
It is important to note these devices do not offer conversion services, though. Since one can complete regular bank transactions, as well as use other forms of digital money through these machines, swapping between Bitcoin and T-Money would be a lucrative option. However, that is not possible, and it is doubtful if such a service would ever be made available. It is something worth exploring for Coinplug, though.
All of this goes to show that Bitcoin is being respected in Korea, and the efforts by platforms such as KorBit are starting to pay off. Although this does not mean Bitcoin has gone mainstream in Korea by any means, it is a convenient option to get access to cryptocurrency. Hybrid ATM machines may be the way to go moving forward.
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