25 Mar 2018 · 3 min read

South Korean Motorbike Delivery Services Ready for Crypto Fastlane

Loyalty points are big business in South Korea – almost as big as the country’s high-speed logistics sector, known locally as “quick service.” And withcryptocurrency mania still sweeping the country, it was perhaps only a matter of time before somebody decided to combine all three for a marketing triple whammy.

And that is precisely what Wonder, one of South Korea’s biggest motorcycle delivery services has just done. Instead of doling out regular points that can be collected and used to attain discounts or free deliveries, Wonder is now handing customers 10% of their payments back in bitcoin.

Media outlet Economic Review claims the move marks a new era of “crypto marketing” for South Korea’s motorbike delivery services, as competition in the sector ramps up. Analysts, meanwhile, claim that should the government soften its stance toward bitcoin and altcoin trading, several delivery services are already poised to add crypto payment functionality to their mobile apps.

Wonder, however, appears to be wasting no time waiting for the government to move – and has made headlines in newspapers across the country with its new loyalty rewards system.

The company’s CEO, Kim Chang-soo, stated, "I think it is better for delivery services to pay their customers back with cryptocurrency that they can actually spend. It’s better than just rewarding them with discounts or loyalty points that really only benefit the service provider.”

Quick service delivery drivers, meanwhile, are already champing at the bit, hoping that the agencies they work with will start accepting crypto.

Hong Ji-min, a freelance driver based in Seoul’s Gangnam District, told Cryptonews.com, “I’d accept jobs that pay in crypto if agencies just plucked up enough courage to accept cryptocurrency payments. I know that most companies are playing it safe, waiting for the government to soften its stance, but there were stories in the media about coffee shops, hotels and ski rental shops accepting crypto payments during the Winter Olympics. Why can’t delivery services also start offering crypto jobs? We drivers are willing to take the risk if agencies are.”

Not all quick service operators share Hong’s optimism. Kim Jong-nam works in the IT department of a major delivery service, but told Cryptonews.com that now is not the time for a gung-ho, or enthusiastic, approach to bitcoin payment. Says Kim, “Only a few weeks ago the government was still talking about completely banning crypto. It really wouldn’t be prudent for delivery operators to roll out crypto payment options now, even if they are already ready to go – that sort of strategy could end up backfiring. It’s better to work on tech options that integrate with existing apps behind the scenes and wait to see what happens.”

E-commerce platforms are also hoping to launch cryptocurrency payment services. Earlier this year, e-retail site WeMakePrice announced it had struck a deal with Bithumb, one of the country’s biggest exchange platforms, allowing customers to make bitcoin and 11 altcoin payments. The platform hit a major roadblock, however, with lingering concerns remaining over government regulation and market fluctuations.

Indeed, just 10 days after WeMakePrice’s triumphant announcement, the company was forced to suspend its plans, stating, “We will not be launching the service until cryptocurrency speculation dies down and we can avoid putting customers at risk from price volatility."

An anonymous e-commerce insider told media outlet Herald Economy, “Now is not the time for collaborations like the WeMakePrice and Bithumb deal. Companies first need to focus on and invest in stabilizing their own internal tech operations.”