Korean bitcoin exchange Korbit has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by SoftBank Ventures Korea and Pantera Capital, with participation from BAM Ventures, and returning investors Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Tim Draper, Pietro Dova, and Strong Ventures. The startup told TechCrunch that it will use its Series A to improve the quality of its products and services and make additional hires.
Korbit competes with Coinbase and Bitpay but differentiates with services that are localized specifically for the Korean market. Last April, Korbit, which also offers bitcoin wallet and merchant processing services through Korbit Pay, launched the first bitcoin-Korean won exchange.
It currently has 25,000 users for its exchange and wallet services, and 400 merchant accounts for Korbit Pay, which started three months ago.
Korbit monetizes by charging a one percent fee for merchants who want their incoming bitcoin payments converted to fiat currency.
“The bitcoin exchange market is pretty healthy in Korea,” said Tony Lyu, the CEO of Korbit. “The use of bitcoin in commerce is just starting to pick up, through the introduction of merchant processing services such as Korbit Pay. Bitcoin can drastically improve the online payments experience for Korean users, because online payments are currently not user-friendly here due to antiquated regulations.”
In a statement, Pantera Capital CEO Dan Morehead said “South Korea has a booming e-commerce market and was an early adopter of virtual goods. The government supports innovation and even the banking foundation is invested in Korbit. Pantera Capital is excited about the investment in Korbit and confident that Bitcoin will thrive in Korea because of its early adoption of innovative technologies and abundance of technical talent.”
Illustration by Bryce Durbin