One of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb, is launching a new service aimed at allowing customers to pay with cryptocurrencies at over 6,000 physical stores nationwide. The exchange also recently expanded its offline support and in-person consultation service in addition to growing the online crypto payment ecosystem.
Crypto Payments at 6000+ Physical Stores
Bithumb announced on Monday that it “is expanding [its] cryptocurrency offline payment services.” This is in partnership with Korea Pay’s Service, which runs digital payment services and a mobile gift card platform, Korea Joongang Daily noted.
“Korea Pay’s Service is the first domestic company to provide mobile gift certificates and solutions through more than 400 domestic channels, including Starbucks, Outback, and Kakao Talk, based on alliances with major domestic franchises,” the Economic Review detailed. According to Bithumb, Korea Pay’s Service has over 200 franchise partners. Fntimes added, “Bithumb will create an environment that allows users to pay directly using cryptocurrencies.” Korea Joongang Daily elaborated:
Shoppers will be able to buy products at about 6,000 stores from brands such as Cafe DropTop, Yankee Candle and Sulbing, one of Korea’s most popular dessert shops.
The exchange explained that barcodes will be created in mobile apps, allowing customers to make payments at cafes and restaurants using their cryptocurrencies held at the exchange.
Citing that “advanced virtual currency markets such as the United States, Japan and Switzerland” are already using crypto payment services, Bithumb said that it will continue to expand its service “through cooperation with various partners.” The exchange plans to launch this service in the first half of the year and expand the number of stores to 8,000 by the end of the year.
At the time of writing, Bithumb is South Korea’s second largest crypto exchange with a 24-hour trading volume of $507 million. The Kakao-backed Upbit is currently the country’s largest with $910 million trading volume during the same time period based on Coinmarketcap data.
Expansion of Offline Support
Last week, Bithumb announced the expansion of its customer service center located in Gangnam, Seoul, in response to increasing visitor demand.
With this expansion, the company has doubled its consultation centers from four to eight, supporting various languages including English, Japanese, and Chinese. There is also a separate consultation lounge for VIP guests, the company detailed. In addition, there are help counters for voice phishing and hacking. According to the exchange:
Currently, Bithumb has been operating the industry’s four largest customer centers in major cities nationwide.
The exchange’s walk-in customer service centers are located in Gangnam, Gwanghwumun, Busan Centum City, and Busan Daejeon. The company revealed that “nationwide, there is a daily average of more than 100 customers visiting the consultation centers.”
Recently, Bithumb revealed that it has been in talks with Wemakeprice, a major online shopping mall in South Korea. While the exchange has referred to the potential partnership several times, Wemakeprice has not done so at press time.
Furthermore, Bithumb has partnered with Innovation Corp which operates a Korean travel site with over 50,000 hotels and other accommodation facilities, allowing customers to pay with any cryptocurrencies they hold at Bithumb. The exchange is also launching crypto kiosks at restaurants and cafes for food orders and crypto payments.
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