Buy Bitcoin & Crypto in South Korea

We may receive advertising compensation when you click certain products. Before jumping into this page, an important disclosure.

You'll need a Bitcoin wallet before you buy since some exchanges require one.

Don't have a wallet? Read our guide on the best Bitcoin & cryptocurrency wallets.

  • Popular Exchanges to Buy Bitcoin & Crypto in South Korea
  • Coinmama
    • Works in almost all countries
    • Highest limits for buying bitcoins with a credit card
    • Reliable and trusted broker
  • eToro
    • Supports Bitcoin, Ethereum & 15 other coins
    • Start trading fast; high limits
    • Your capital is at risk.

    We do not promote, endorse, or earn commissions from the trading of securities of any kind, including CFDs, however, eToro requires that we provide you with the following disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 62% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CoinmamaCoinmama Buy Bitcoin Read Review

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.

Want to buy using Coinmama? This step-by-step guide will show you how to use Coinmama.

We may receive compensation when you use Coinmama. Please visit Coinmama for its exact pricing terms.

Pros
  • Works in almost all countries
  • Highest limits for buying bitcoins with a credit card
  • Reliable and trusted broker
Cons
  • Some of the highest fees among credit/debit card bitcoin brokers
Ease of Use
Easy
Privacy
Low
Speed
Fast
Fees
Average
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
High
Buy Bitcoin Read Review

eToroeToro Buy Bitcoin Read Review

eToro is a trading platform and crypto exchange. It supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Zcash and many other coins.

Deposits can be made quickly via bank transfer, SEPA, NETELLER, PayPal and more. It also offers unique features like copy trading.

Your capital is at risk. We do not promote, endorse, or earn commissions from the trading of securities of any kind, including CFDs, however, eToro requires that we provide you with the following disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 62% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

We may receive compensation when you use eToro. Please visit eToro for its exact pricing terms.

Pros
  • Offers unique copy trading feature
  • Trusted echange that has been active in traditional finance
  • Interface is clean and easy to use
Cons
  • You cannot deposit cryptocurrency, but you can deposit with other payment methods
Ease of Use
Easy
Privacy
Low
Speed
Average
Fees
Low
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
High
Buy Bitcoin Read Review

KrakenKraken Buy Bitcoin Read Review

Founded mid-2011, Kraken is the one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and the largest in Europe based on daily average trading volume. It is available in almost all countries. Deposits can be made via bank wire, SEPA, ACH and SWIFT.

Pros
  • Very low 0.25% taker fee, falling to 0.1% with sufficient trading volume
  • Very low maker fee, falling to 0% with sufficient trading volume
  • Highly-rated for security and data protection
Cons
  • Requires ID verification, so not private
Ease of Use
Hard
Privacy
Low
Speed
Average
Fees
Low
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
High
Buy Bitcoin Read Review

LocalBitcoinsLocalBitcoins Buy Bitcoin Read Review

LocalBitcoins is an escrow service which also helps to match bitcoin buyers and sellers. Users may advertise trades for whichever payment method they prefer.

Buying bitcoins via an in-person meeting, secured and facilitated by LocalBitcoins, may be one of the fastest and most private ways to buy bitcoins in any country, including the United States, Europe (besides Germany), UK, Singapore, Canada, Australia and many more.

We may receive compensation when you use LocalBitcoins. Please visit LocalBitcoins for its exact pricing terms.

Pros
  • Can be private, fast and easy
  • In-person trades require no personal information
  • Purchases of bitcoin can be made quickly via cash deposit
Cons
  • Beware of scams; always follow the rules!
  • Harder to buy large amounts of bitcoins compared to large exchanges
  • Slightly to significantly higher prices than regular exchanges; premium for higher privacy
Ease of Use
Hard
Privacy
High
Speed
Fast
Fees
Low
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
Average
Buy Bitcoin Read Review

KorbitKorbit Buy Bitcoin

Korbit is the first and largest Bitcoin exchange in South Korea, based on trading volume. Deposits can be made via bank transfer only.

Pros
  • Extremely low fees of 0% (for market makers) to 0.2% (for market takers)
  • Deep liquidity ensures a buying price close to fair market rate
  • Multi-sig security features
  • Offers a remittance service
Cons
  • Can be hard to use for the first time
  • Offers a wallet that should not be used for Bitcoin storage
  • Single payment method
Ease of Use
Average
Privacy
Average
Speed
Average
Fees
Low
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
High
Buy Bitcoin

CoinplugCoinplug Buy Bitcoin

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.

Pros
  • Low fees; possible to buy for just 0.1%
  • Investment and technical advice from some prominent industry names
  • okBitcard is a quick and convenient to buy small amounts of bitcoin at over 32,000 venues across South Korea
  • okBitcard is quite a private buying method; requires only your phone number
Cons
  • Not private since identity verification is required for exchange trading
  • Interface may be confusing for first time buyers
  • Exchange's virtual bank accounts, valid for 24 hours only, may lead to complications in the event of payment delays
Ease of Use
Average
Privacy
Average
Speed
Average
Fees
Low
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
High
Buy Bitcoin

Bitcoin ATMsBitcoin ATMs Buy Bitcoin

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%.

Pros
  • Our map makes it super easy to find a Bitcoin ATM near you
Cons
  • Bitcoin ATMs often have 5-10% fees per purchase
Buy Bitcoin

Mycelium Local TraderMycelium Local Trader Buy Bitcoin

Mycelium Local Trader helps you find local Bitcoin sellers. Once you locate a seller, you meet up in-person and conduct the trade. Mycelium charges absolutely no fees. While Mycelium Local Trader works great in highly-populated areas, users in low population areas will have trouble finding sellers.

Pros
  • Easy and cheap way to buy bitcoins with cash
  • Private way to buy bitcoins, no personal information required beyond cellphone number
Cons
  • Users in sparsely populated areas will have trouble finding sellers
Ease of Use
Average
Privacy
High
Speed
Fast
Fees
Low
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
High
Buy Bitcoin

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Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Trading in South Korea


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.


Korea's Capital city, Seoul - home to many Bitcoin startups

One of the easiest ways to buy Bitcoin in South Korea is through one of their many cryptocurrency exchanges, outlined above. There are several exchanges offering Bitcoin in South Korea, and you can easily 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 the fact that certain exchanges might require them to get a wallet of their own before they are able to buy the digital currency. Also, 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.


COMPARISON

Ledger Nano X

  • SCREEN:
  • RELEASED: 2019
  • PRICE: $119

Ledger Nano S

  • SCREEN:
  • RELEASED: 2016
  • PRICE: $59

TREZOR T

  • SCREEN:
  • RELEASED: 2018
  • PRICE: $159

TREZOR One

  • SCREEN:
  • RELEASED: 2013
  • PRICE: $59

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. You can locate Bitcoin ATMs in South Korea using our Bitcoin ATM Map.




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Top Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Exchanges in South Korea


South Korea has access to many large Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.

Have a look at our favorites below:

  • Popular Exchanges to Buy Bitcoin & Crypto in South Korea
  • Coinmama
    • Works in almost all countries
    • Highest limits for buying bitcoins with a credit card
    • Reliable and trusted broker
  • eToro
    • Supports Bitcoin, Ethereum & 15 other coins
    • Start trading fast; high limits
    • Your capital is at risk.

    We do not promote, endorse, or earn commissions from the trading of securities of any kind, including CFDs, however, eToro requires that we provide you with the following disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 62% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.


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Best Bitcoin Wallets for South Korea



There are three main types of Bitcoin wallet and all of them are supported in South Korea:

Best for Security

Ledger Nano X

Secure storage for any cryptocurrency

Visit Website

The Ledger Nano X is the newest crypto hardware wallet, and is very easy to use. It connects to iOS, Android & desktop computers.

Temporary Wallet

Atomic Wallet

Best for storing crypto for short period of time

Learn More

Atomic wallet is a multicurrency mobile wallet with a beautiful interface and easy to use features.

Best for Desktop

Electrum

Simple yet powerful desktop wallet

Learn More

Electrum is a Bitcoin-only wallet that has been around since 2011. It's easy to use, but has advanced features.


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Exchange Hacks and Crypto Scams in South Korea


Futurenet

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.

Youbit (formerly Yapizon) Hacks

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.

Upbit Hack

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.

Upbit PR Team

Bithumb Hacks

Hack #1

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.

Hack #2

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.

Hack #3

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.


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FAQ


Does Coinbase work in South Korea?

Coinbase does NOT support customers in South Korea as of September of 2020.


Where Can I Find a Bitcoin ATM in South Korea?

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.



What is the price of Bitcoin in South Korea?

The current price of Bitcoin in South Korea is ₩12,266, however this amount changes every minute, so always check the value on your local exchange.



What percent of South Koreans own Bitcoin?

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.



Which stores accept Bitcoin in South Korea

Bitcoin is accepted at lots of stores and service providers all over South Korea. So many, in fact, that we couldn't possible list them all here. However, you can find specific kinds of services and goods filterable on a map over at coinmap.org.


The colored sections indicate areas where there is heavier acceptance of Bitcoin

How much Bitcoin volume comes from South Korea?

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 bit 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.


Countries shown as a percent of daily Bitcoin volume - September 2020

How do I cash out of Bitcoin in South Korea?

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.

Local Bitcoins is another option. Here, you can buy and sell Bitcoin for a wide range of payment methods, from gift cards to bank transfers. Local Bitcoins 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.