Buy Bitcoin in South Korea

All links are external & open in a new tab, except for "Read Review" buttons. 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 wallets.

CoinmamaCoinmama Buy Bitcoin Read Review

Coinmama allows customers in almost every country to buy bitcoin with a credit or debit card. They charge an ~6% fee on each purchase.

If buying less than $150 worth of bitcoins, you won't need to verify your identity. This convenience makes small purchases quick and easy.

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

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
High
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. The most common method of payment for purchase is cash deposit. However, 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.

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

ChangellyChangelly Buy Bitcoin

Changelly lets you buy bitcoin with Litecoin, Dogecoin, altcoins and many other digital tokens. Changelly works in nearly every country but you will need another cryptocurrency in order to purchase bitcoins. Exchanges happen almost instantly because Changelly never actually controls your tokens but just exchanges them.

Pros
  • Easiest and fastest way to buy bitcoins with altcoins
  • Fees are reasonable for larger traders
Cons
  • Need altcoins or other digital tokens to use
Ease of Use
Easy
Privacy
High
Speed
Fast
Fees
Average
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
High
Buy Bitcoin

bitcoin-otcbitcoin-otc Buy Bitcoin

Bitcoin-OTC is an over-the-counter marketplace for the peer to peer exchanging of bitcoin. It is almost like a Craigslist for Bitcoin. Users must create ads or locate other ads to find sellers of bitcoin. Bitcoin-OTC is somewhat complicated and hard to use, but may be the only option for users in some countries without an exchange.

Pros
  • Can be a good way to find Bitcoin sellers if no other options exist
Cons
  • Need to keep eye out for scams
  • Need to build trust and feedback for your account before trading larger amounts
Ease of Use
Hard
Privacy
High
Speed
Varies
Fees
Varies
Reputation
Trusted
Limits
High
Buy Bitcoin

History of Bitcoin in South Korea

South Korea’s is known for its home grown, highly visual K-pop , which is popular with millions around the globe. Ranked first by the Bloomberg’s Global Innovation Index in 2014, South Korea is also the home of business empires such as Samsung and LG, whose brands are recognized and popular all over the world.

South Korea has also become one of the largest Bitcoin exchange markets in the world. Although South Korea is currently the fourth largest Bitcoin exchange market behind the US, China and Japan, a month ago, its trading volume and market share was larger than China and Japan and secured its spot as the second-largest Bitcoin exchange market for awhile.

In the summer of 2015 the Bitcoin Center Korea opened its doors. The Center is a bitcoin information center, a community center for meetups, and a co-working space. They’re open daily to the public and welcome anyone interested in bitcoin. The focus of the Center will be on education, as it aims to provide daily tutorials and workshops on various Bitcoin-related topics.

Status of Bitcoin in South Korea

In Korea, many people, both young and old, use the latest smartphones and tablets with NFC and camera technology. Wifi and cellular data is reliable and widely accessible. Common barriers to countries adopting bitcoin – such as market penetration of new technologies and smartphone usage – are lower in Korea, making this a promising place for bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Apart from the bitcoin startup scene and businesses, Korea also has one of the most active Bitcoin communities in Asia. Its largest meetup group, Seoul Bitcoin , welcomes both locals and expats by hosting meetups twice a week with the purpose of educating those who are new to bitcoin and bringing together existing enthusiasts. Seoul Bitcoin recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, where it announced that it has grown to over 400 members in record time.

A recent analysis of bitcoin meetups worldwide revealed that the Seoul based community is one of the fastest growing meetups of 2015.

After Police seized 216 Bitcoins from an individual that was suspected to be involved in illegal activities with the digital currency, it was ruled by a South Korean court that the seizure was illegitimate. In September 2017, the Suwon district court set a groundbreaking precedent in legitimizing the seizer, by ruling that Bitcoin and associated digital currencies are not subject to confiscation.

While South Korea is one of the more progressive nations towards Bitcoin and its legalization, as well as its regulation, this move by the courts could send shockwaves through regulatory bodies in the country as well as across the globe.

Companies using Bitcoin

Exchanges such as Coinplug,Korbit,Xcoin,Coinone, and Coinpia are operating and competing with transaction fees that are close or equal to zero. But since these exchange platforms are operating with nearly zero fees, it is hard to use their data from any statistical purposes to illustrate bitcoin adoption in Korea.

Coinplug made bitcoin more accessible by providing 2-way ATMs and is selling bitcoins at 24,000 7-Eleven convenience stores. On top of that, they recently unveiled their collaboration with Nautilus Hyosung – one of the largest ATM manufacturers in Asia – making bitcoin purchasable at 7000 ATMs across the country.

Kyobo Life, one of the largest insurance providers in the country, was selected by the South Korean government as the major operator of its Blockchain project. Kyobo is expected to facilitate tests and pilot experiments with the South Korean government’s Blockchain platform. Merchants Accepting Bitcoin

An electronics retail marketplace in South Korea has reportedly taken the unusual step of banning vendors from mining bitcoin in their stores. Yongsan Market, based in Seoul, has told merchants that they aren't allowed to mine cryptocurrencies – bitcoin and ether, specifically – because of electrical costs, rising temperatures and the risk of fire, according to Korea Economic Daily. According to the report, the Yongsan Market's management has also warned merchants that the subsequent jump in electricity costs will be added to their bills.

According to Coin Market Cap data, the Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb is now ranked first in terms of trading volume across global platforms, amassing total of over $342 million in the last 24 hours.

Legality of Bitcoin

While not illegal in the country, Korean authorities will prosecute illegal activity involving bitcoin and have indicted at least one individual for purchasing drugs with bitcoin.

There are no laws in South Korea regulating the use of bitcoin at present. On December 12, 2013, the president of the Bank of Korea recommended at a press conference that bitcoin be regulated in the future.