International

Bitcoin Getting Bigger In Korea

South Korean bitcoin exchange Korbit has cut a deal to accept bitcoin for one of the biggest media and entertainment companies in Asia, Bitcoinist reported on Monday (Dec. 1).

The Vingo video-on-demand service, which is owned by giant Korean business conglomerate CJ Group, will be accepting bitcoin initially just for the online video service, which will let Vingo users pay for content with bitcoin across multiple devices. To promote the new payments, Korbit is giving away 6,000 Korean won worth of bitcoin (about $5.40) to the first 1,000 users.

But the deal, which makes CJ E&M the first listed company in Korea that accepts bitcoin payments, may expand to include other CJ media lines of business. "Large enterprises in Korea are typically conservative in their approach to assimilating cutting-edge technologies, but with Vingo's adoption of bitcoin we can innovate on a larger scale," said Tony Lyu, CEO of Korbit. "We hope Bitcoin fuels CJ E&M's growth in the global market."

Korbit, which was founded in 2013, has more than 25,000 user accounts and has signed up 500 merchant accounts, mostly small and medium-sized businesses. The company has financial backing from investors including Tim Draper, Barry Silbert, AngelList CEO Naval Ravikant and Pantera Capital -- and the Korean government helped arrange some of the meetings with investors, although the government has yet to provide a clear regulatory outlook for Bitcoin or guidance on how the cryptocurrency will be taxed.

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