South Korea's Kakao to Contain Cryptocurrency For 12,000 Merchants & Millions Users

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Asia Business, an influential finance-focused media outlet in South Korea, has reported that Kakao, among the two biggest internet companies that run KakaoTalk, KakaoPay, KakaoStory, KakaoTaxi, and a subsidiary company that runs major cryptocurrency exchange UpBit will integrate cryptocurrency within 2018.

Importance of Kakao

Exclusive coverage released by Asia Business revealed that Kakao's biotech application KakaoPay, which enrolled 3 million users inside its debut month, will incorporate cryptocurrencies into its neighborhood application to permit users to send and receive cryptocurrencies. Kakao is also planning to establish its own cryptocurrency, similar to the version of Binance's Binance Coin, within this year.

Once KakaoPay integrates cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, all the other Kakao programs would become  compatible with cryptocurrency payments. If Kakao pursues its plan to incorporate cryptocurrencies into KakaoPay by the end of 2018, millions of KakaoTaxi, KakaoTalk, and other Kakao software will soon be able to utilize cryptocurrencies.

This past year, Dunamoo, a subsidiary company of Kakao, launched UpBit, the first cryptocurrency-only exchange in South Korea. Within a few months, UpBit became one of the top five cryptocurrency exchanges in the market.

The gigantic success of UpBit and the rising demand for cryptocurrency from local investors likely led Kakao to concentrate on addressing the market, provided that other firms like Bithumb have procured large partnerships with the country's largest e-commerce platforms and retailers in WeMakePrice and Yeogi Eottae to integrate cryptocurrencies in their current payment infrastructures.

Kakao's market penetration in South Korea exceeds the 90 percent mark, in all three regions: messaging, taxi service, and biotech. KakaoPay is the most dominant biotech application in the local market, and it's used by several millennials as an alternative to the South Korean banking system, as KakaoPay offers loans and offers virtual bank accounts, apart from settling both small and large transactions.

The integration of cryptocurrency by Kakao will immediately expose bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies to tens of millions of people that use Kakao on a daily basis. Kakao's dominance in the South Korean market has come to a point in which devices like smartphones include Kakao applications installed.

Since CCN reported, South Korea's largest hotel booking platform Yeogi Eottae has already secured a partnership with the nation's biggest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb to integrate cryptocurrencies.

Bithumb has started to provide cryptocurrency kiosks to a lot of restaurants, cafes, and food franchises in South Korea, to boost the adoption of cryptocurrency and provide a better way for South Koreans to spend cryptocurrencies casually, on a daily basis, without technical difficulties.

Together with Japan's leading retailers such as Bic Camera, airline Peach, hotel chain Capsule, and electrical grid operator Bitpoint integrating cryptocurrencies, the decision of major South Korean companies to embrace cryptocurrencies will probably lead to a surge in growth in the Asian cryptocurrency marketplace in the mid-term.