South Korean bitcoin multi-services company Coinplug announced yesterday it has closed a Series A funding deal worth $2.5m from mainly local venture capitalists. The new investment brings the firm to a total of $3.3m raised so far.
This week's deal notably included bitcoin venture capitalist Tim Draper, but was led by Mirae Asset Venture Investment, an arm of Seoul-based financial industry giant Mirae Asset. The round also included major Korean VC firm Bokwang Investment Corp, Capstone Partners and DSC Investment.
Coinplug's Richard Yun, himself one of the firm's initial investors, told CoinDesk it is notable that most of the round's funding comes from Korea itself:
"Most investors are Korean VCs that are interested and recognized our technology and great potential for growth, so these are very meaningful investments."
Coinplug would use the funding, Yun said, to develop a new services platform combining bitcoin and online content, expand Korea's bitcoin userbase, and install more of its locally developed bitcoin ATMs.
There have been growing requests for the ATMs from department stores, universities, and franchise stores, according to the firm.
Yun identified young people making purchases online as key prospects for digital currency growth in the country:
"Teenagers do not have credit cards for online payments, such as recharging online game points and purchasing mobile and online game items, online shopping etc. So we will launch bitcoin prepaid cards that sell at national franchise convenience stores at the end of October."
Bitcoin industry boom
There has been a significant increase in venture money flowing into Korea's bitcoin industry in recent months. Coinplug's rival Korbit secured a $3m round in August led by Softbank Ventures Korea, in addition to a previous $600,000 funding.
Both companies offer multiple bitcoin infrastructure services for consumers and merchants. Coinplug offers the chance to pay with bitcoin at over 10,000 online sellers, thanks to a July deal with payments company Galaxia Communications.
In addition to its business activities, Coinplug seeks to develop Korea's bitcoin ecosystem in other ways.
It has helped organized a bitcoin-specific session at the 15th World Knowledge Forum (Asia's largest business forum) and the KU Bitcoin Expo for students at Korea University. Both events will take place in Seoul about 10 days from now.
Seoul street image via Shutterstock