South Korean Internet Giant to Offer Cryptocurrency Support to Millions

A South Korean internet giant by the name of Kakao is planning to integrate cryptocurrency support across its business offerings, boosting the prospect of mainstream adoption in one of the world’s hottest markets.

Kakao to Support Cryptocurrencies

Local media outlet Asia Business has reported that Kakao will begin integrating cryptocurrency payments into its business model this year. The company runs a slew of popular services, including KakaoTalk and KakaoPay. Later this year, users of KakaoPay will be able to send and receive crypto payments instantly. The platform has more than three million registered users.

Once KakaoPay is set up with crypto support, the company’s other applications will also be compatible with the new payment method. In other words, cryptocurrencies would then apply to a range of applications hosted by Kakao.

CCN describes Kakao as one of South Korea’s two largest internet companies. Interestingly and perhaps not coincidentally, its subsidiary company is also behind the popular Upbit exchange, which is the world’s sixth-largest digital currency platform by trading volume. According to CoinMarketCap, Upbit processed nearly $500 million worth of digital currency transactions over the past 24 hours.

Kakao is planning to increase its presence in the crypto market this year. In addition to accepting and facilitating payments, it is planning to launch its own crypto asset.

South Korean Crypto Market

The news comes as South Korea is cementing itself as a global hub for the blockchain economy. Backed by favorable regulations, popular exchanges and high investor penetration, the Asian country has emerged as an important bellwether for the global crypto market.

South Korea’s prominence in the crypto world could be observed by the market’s reaction to the country’s evolving regulatory landscape. On Jan. 30, South Korean authorities implemented a ban on anonymous trading accounts, but have since backed away from calls for more stringent regulation. Instead, authorities will support measures that bring about greater transparency on domestic exchanges.

Last month, South Korea’s Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon confirmed his office has “no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency.” Other ministries, such as the Fair Trade Commission, also argued that a ban on cryptocurrencies would constitute a violation of the country’s e-commerce laws.

In addition to Upbit, South Korea is home to two of the top-five crypto exchanges – OKEx and Bithumb. On Saturday, OKEx was no. 1 in transaction volumes, with more than $1.4 billion processed.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi