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Crypto Pay on the Rise in South Korea as Commercial Giants Ink Partnership Deals

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: Adobe/maroke


South Korean retail chains are embracing crypto- and blockchain-powered payment platforms – and so are their customers, according to new industry data.

Per the Kookmin Ilbo, there has been a 136.6% rise in the number of crypto- and blockchain-powered pay transactions over the course of the past 12 months at CU, one of the nation’s biggest convenience store chains. However, the report did not provide any other numbers.

In either case, CU, which is operated by the BGF Retail business group, accepts a number of crypto-related payment options, including Danal’s Paycoin platform and Chai’s Chai Pay.

Paycoin makes use of an eponymous token – paycoin (PCI) – that trades on platforms such as Coinbase. Users make real-time exchanges via an app, and can also trade coins for bitcoin (BTC), or make purchases using bitcoin.

Danal has scored a massive hit with its app and token, and just days ago struck a partnership deal with Tom n Toms, one of South Korea’s biggest coffee store chains.

It also has pay deals in place with a number of other retail giants, including the Tom n Toms rivals Ediya Coffee and Hollys, as well as international chains like Burger King and Domino’s Pizza. The takeout and delivery chicken giant BBQ is also a recently added partner, as is the cinema chain CGV.

Per a press release circulated to journalists late last month, Danal is now eyeing global market expansion and says it currently enables BTC pay at 100,000 merchants in South Korea. The firm added that it is planning to expand its operability to encompass protocols such as Ethereum (ETH) and ICON (ICX).

A recent deal with Samchully Motors, a South Korean BMW dealership, will also allow app users to buy luxury cars using crypto.

Last year, Chai received a USD 60m investment injection from the likes of SoftBank.

But CU’s crypto involvement goes deeper than just its Danal and Chai partnerships – the chain also allows its customers to swap their loyalty points for milk (MLK) tokens. MLK was listed by the market-leading crypto exchange Upbit earlier this year, and is also listed at the rival exchange Bithumb.

The same media outlet quoted an unnamed retail industry insider as stating:

“As the public’s interest in cryptocurrency and its value increases, the number of people using [crypto] in real life is gradually increasing.”

Learn more: 
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