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Paybis is a popular cryptocurrency exchange. They serve 180 countries and 48 US states and are registered with FinCEN, making them a more trusted, regulated exchange. Paybis offers incredibly high limits and super fast payouts, not to mention 5 minute ID verification and nearly perfect review scores on Trustpilot.
Coinmama allows customers in almost every country to buy bitcoin. They charge a 4.9%-5.9% (depends on volume) fee on each purchase.
Customers in Europe can also purchase bitcoins with SEPA transfer for a lower fee.
Korbit is the first and largest Bitcoin exchange in South Korea, based on trading volume. Deposits can be made via bank transfer only.
Coinplug is a Bitcoin exchange based in South Korea. Customers can buy bitcoin by making a bank deposit to one of Coinplug's virtual bank accounts.
Coinplug also operates the okBitcard service which allows bitcoin vouchers to be purchased from any 7-11, Mini Stop or Nautilus ATM across South Korea. Vouchers may be purchased in ₩10,000, ₩30,000, or ₩50,000 denominations.
You can use our Bitcoin ATM map to buy bitcoins with cash. Bitcoin ATMs can be a quick and easy way to buy bitcoins and they're also private. That convenience and privacy, however, comes with a price; most ATMs have fees of 5-10%.
South Korea, like Japan, was very early to the Bitcoin party. It offers some of the most mature markets in the world for these types of assets, and has come a long way from even just 4 years ago in terms of the safety of the exchanges and the regulations in place.
One unattractive aspect of South Korea is that its exchanges' histories are rife with hacks, though many attribute this to the North Korean regime. To its credit, many of the exchanges that have experienced these hacks have done their best to make their customers whole after ward and South Korean regulators appear to move quickly in order to change regulations that either are not working or are stifling growth.
As a response to these issues, as many as two thirds of South Korean exchanges are set to be wiped out in a regulatory overhaul required by the country's Financial Services Commission. As per the overhaul, all exchanges operating in South Korea are required to register as legal trading platforms by September 24th, 2021. It is expected that 40 of the 60 exchanges running in South Korea will be unable to meet these conditions.
If you want to buy Bitcoin in South Korea, one of the easiest ways is to buy through one of their many cryptocurrency exchanges, outlined above. There are several exchanges offering Bitcoin in South Korea, allowing you to select one based on your requirements and preferences using our guide. Different exchanges have different transaction fees, withdrawal limits, payment modes, and verification processes that need to be kept in mind before users select one.
Additionally, Bitcoin buyers need to keep in mind that certain exchanges might require you to get a wallet of your own before being able to buy the digital currency. Even if there is no requirement, it is recommended to have a wallet of your own for security reasons (preferably a hardware wallet). If you don’t have a wallet, refer to our guide on the Best Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Wallets to choose one.
Another way to buy Bitcoins in South Korea is through automated teller machines (ATMs). These ATMs allow users to instantly purchase and sell cryptocurrency using cash, however most of them require at least a phone number, so they aren't totally private.
There are three main types of Bitcoin wallet and all of them are supported in South Korea:
The Ledger Nano X is the newest crypto hardware wallet, and is very easy to use. It connects to iOS, Android & desktop computers.
Coinbase is an easy-to-use iOS and Android crypto exchange and wallet. Start within 20 seconds.
Ethereum (ETH) has established itself as the second most popular digital currency, after Bitcoin. Its smart contract features allow unique apps to be built on top of its platform. Below you will find exchanges in South Korea that allow you to buy ethereum. Once you buy, you should withdrawal your ETH directly to your own crypto wallet.
Thanks to Tesla founder Elon Musk, Dogecoin (DOGE)—a coin that started as a meme about the shiba inu dog—has recently become a popular digital currency. Below you can find crypto exchanges in Canada that allow you purchase Dogecoin.
About Dogecoin: Dogecoin has become one of the most famous altcoin blockchains. Dogecoin was founded by Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus on December 6, 2013. Thanks to its popularity on Robinhood, it hit an all time high of $0.42 on April 20. Doge started the year at under $0.01 USD. It is an open source blockchain, meaning its code is publicly available for anyone to see.
Litecoin (LTC) is one of largest cryptocurrencies by market cap. Below you can find a list of brokerages in South Korea that allow you to buy litecoin and other crypto assets for good exchange rates.
In June of 2020, South Korean authorities announced that over 900 individual complaints were filed against a cloud mining company known as Futurenet based in of South Korea.
It is believed that Futurenet was run by some 160 individuals, and two of the founders left the country before prosecutors could file charges. One remains in custody and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Future net attracted nearly $17 million worth of various cryptocurrencies from would-be advertisers and investors. No advertisements ever made it onto the websites and no investor money ever retrieved the 60% guaranteed ROI from claimed mining activity. In actuality, Futurenet was just another ponzi scheme.
In April of 2017, the Yapizon crypto exchange was hacked for 3,816 BTC worth ~$5.3 million US dollars at the time.
This hack resulted in a loss of 36% of all of Yapizon's holdings.
In one of the stranger payback methods of an exchange hack we have ever seen, Yapizon promised to pay back those who lost some or all of their holdings by giving the customers Fei tokens (a crypto made by the exchange). Users could then trade the Fei tokens for equity in the Yapizon's holdings of Yahoo Japan.
After this hack, Yapizon changed their name to Youbit in order to separate the brand from the incident. Unfortunately, it wouldn't end up mattering as another hack in December of the same year as the first hack would put the exchange completely under the water.
Before it shut down though, it promised to pay everyone who lost their money 75% of the total value before it would close its doors.
In November of 2019, South Korean Exchange Upbit was hacked for $50 million worth of Ethereum tokens.
Many beleive the hack was an inside job since it occured while Upbit was transferring coins to its cold wallet.
After the hack, Upbit shored up its defenses to prevent such a hack from happening again. The Upbit PR team had this to say
It is part of our effort to increase Upbit’s overall security since the Ethereum theft incident last November. Immediately following the incident, we suspended deposit/withdrawal services and transferred all crypto-assets to cold wallets. Since then, we’ve been revamping the wallet system for all crypto-assets traded on Upbit. As of today, new wallet services for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and EOS are open.
According to Korea's Yonhap News wire, in July of 2017, hackers gained access to the laptop of a Bithumb employee and stole the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of 31,800 Bithumb customers. Thankfully, it seems that no passwords were compromised.
Unfortunately for Bithumb, they wouldn't get so lucky on their second hack, which occured in June of 2018. This time, the exchange would lose over $30 million worth of cryptocurrency. In most cases, XRP was the most stolen coin of the hack. This hack followed internal alarm where the exchange operators had noticed a serious uptick in unauthorized login attempts.
Bithumb eventually confirmed via twitter (now deleted) that it would reimburse customers using its own reserves. Charlie Shrems response to the tweet shown below:
Bithumb was able to eventually retireve $14 million worth of the crypto stolen through coorindation with other exchanges watching the wallets holding the stolen coins.
Too bad for Bithumb that their retrieval of the $14 million from the second hack would get almost entirely eaten by the third and most recent hack. This hack occured in March of 2019, where Bithumb lost ~$13 million worth of XRP and EOS. This time, it was beleived to be an inside job, similar to Upbit attack that would occur later on in November of the same year.
Thankfully for users, all of the stolen assets were the reserves of Bithumb. All client assets were held in cold storage at the time of the breach, and only hot wallets were affected.
Coinbase does NOT support customers in South Korea as of September of 2020.
In the past, you used to be able to buy Bitcoins in South Korea at Bitcoin automated teller machines (ATMs). In fact, this was one of the primary ways in which people in Korea used to buy Bitcoin around 2014. However, Bitcoin ATMs are now prohibited, so there aren't any left to buy from.
You can use our Bitcoin ATM finder tool to check back in occasionally and see if one has opened.
Bitcoin prices are changing every second.
The best way to find the most up-to-date price of Bitcoin is to check out our Bitcoin price page.
While it is impossible to know for sure what percent of South Koreans own Bitcoin (due to the pseudonymous nature of the currency), we do have some survey data regarding ownership rates per occupation. Professionals in management roles seem to have the highest rates of ownership, followed by white collar office workers.
Bitcoin is accepted at lots of stores and service providers all over South Korea. So many, in fact, that we couldn't possibly list them all here. However, you can find specific kinds of services and goods filterable on a map over at coinmap.org.
According to Coinhills live API feed, Korean Won accounts for approximately 2% of global Bitcoin volume, putting it in fourth place in the world, behind the US, Japan, and the Euro. However, since the Eurozone is not a country but a federation of countries who all use the same currency, many would argue that South Korea actually provides the third largest amount of volume on Earth.
Any exchange with a Korean Won trading pair will allow you to sell your Bitcoin for fiat currency. Korbit has KRW trading pairs for many popular coins.
LocalBitcoins is another option. Here, you can buy and sell Bitcoin for a wide range of payment methods, from gift cards to bank transfers. LocalBitcoins is a peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange, where you buy and sell with another individual. This does introduce a degree of risk, though by ensuring that you conduct all business on the platform, make use of its escrow services, and only trade with users who have a good reputation, you'll minimize any potential problems.
You could also use a service like eGifter to sell your Bitcoin for gift cards.