Coinplug, one of the earliest bitcoin exchange, wallet and payment startups in South Korea, has raised 7.5 billion won, or $6.4 million, from venture arms of major local financial institutions.
The startup said in a release on Thursday the funding came from KB Investment, a VC unit of the KB Financial Group, one of the largest banking institutions in Korea; Mirae Asset Venture Investment, a listed subsidiary of investment bank and securities broker Mirae Asset Daewoo; as well as private equity and VC firm Smilegate Investment.
With the new equity financing, Coinplug said it would be focusing on decentralized identification technologies, an area that has drawn significant interest from the Korean government and major banks in the country.
Founded in 2013, Coinplug operates a crypto exchange with a mobile wallet and bitcoin pre-paid card services available at convenient stores in the country. The new funding is described as a Series B2 round and comes four years after it raised $5 million in the Series B round, also backed by Mirae Asset Venture Investment and KB Investment at the time.
One investor mentioned Coinplug’s participation in Busan‘s efforts to become a major blockchain hub as one of the reasons for their participation in the financing, according to a CoinDesk Korea report.
Coinplug works with a wide range of financial institutions, including Shinhan Bank, Hyundai Card, KB Card and KB Kookmin Bank, and is actively engaged with a number of government entities, including the Korea Internet Services Agency (KISA) and Korea Post, and with the Busan City Blockchain De-regulatory Zone.
Coinplug has so far filed 262 patent applications and received 98 granted patents, according to the statement.
Korean won banknote image via Shutterstock