Stablecoins & ‘Legal Crypto’ to Power S Korean Plastic Surgery Revival
South Korean companies will increasingly look to stablecoins and blockchain technology as they look to boost the number of people coming into the country to undergo cosmetic surgical procedures.
South Korea’s plastic surgery industry is worth an estimated USD 5 billion a year, and prior to the coronavirus outbreak, there had been a steady growth in foreign visits for “medical tourism” purposes – i.e. cosmetic surgery.
Blockchain business consultant Lee Jong-Cheol has advised cosmetic surgery firms in South Korea. He told Cryptonews.com,
“Customers want to pay in crypto – particularly those coming from China. They want to pay in crypto for the entire package, hotels, food and the treatment. But as crypto-business is hard to do here, with a lack of regulatory framework, blockchain-powered payments and stablecoins that have easy crypto gateways could provide a solution.”
Per the Korea Biomedical Review, “Plastic surgery clinics said they suffered about a 70% reduction of patient visits after January this year” – when many clinics closed their doors to domestic patients and particularly overseas nationals.
And as Korean plastic surgeons attempt to dig themselves out of this financial hole, it looks like they – and their supporters – are hoping blockchain will play a role.
As reported last week, a joint public-private consortium comprising the likes of BNK Busan Bank is set to construct a blockchain-powered medical tourism platform in Busan, the country’s second city.
The Kyongbuk Ilbo reports that companies in Daegu, the fourth largest city in the country and a traditional hub of the medical industry want to follow suit.
The news outlet reports that companies are floating the idea of using “legal cryptocurrencies” – blockchain-powered stablecoins pegged 1:1 to the Korean won – as a way to connect “1,400” industry players with overseas visitors keen to pay for medical processes, other costs and after-care using digital tokens rather than costly and cumbersome cross-border fiat-to-fiat transactions.
Another South Korean cryptocurrency-powered medical tourism project was launched in May this year, while a number of Seoul-based plastic surgeons have been accepting bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies for several years.