Korbit announced a $ 3 million Series A financing round led by Softbank Ventures Korea.
The round included Pantera Capital and BAM Ventures, as well as investors and funds previously affiliated with the company: Barry Silberts Bitcoin Opportunity Corp, Tim Draper, Pietro Dova and Strong Ventures.
Korbit, the first Bitcoin-to-Korean won exchange, had previously received a $ 400,000 seed capital round in January, bringing its total funding to $ 600,000 for angel investments at the time. Although Korbit offers an English language version of its website, Korbit’s services are aimed at the Korean domestic market.
CEO Tony Lyu told CoinDesk that Korbit intends to reinvest the additional funds to improve the quality of the company’s products and services.
“Our product line spans multiple domains – Bitcoin Wallet, Exchange, and Merchant Processor – and significant resources are required to achieve enterprise-class performance and integration.”
Korbit will also try to attract new talent with the capital.
Venture Capitalists Praise Bitcoin, Korea
Kangjoon Ryan Lee, partner at SoftBank Ventures Korea, was optimistic and positive about Bitcoin and its advantages over current payment networks in his comments.
Portraying Bitcoin as a solution to the high costs incurred by financial intermediaries, Lee said:
“Bitcoin offers great advantages in terms of cost savings and ease of use compared to traditional currencies and credit cards. I expect Bitcoin to create significant markets for payments and international transfers. In the future, Bitcoin can play a role in a variety of industries, such as machine-to-machine transactions or as a platform for smart contracts. “
Dan Morehead, CEO of Pantera Capital, issued a statement explaining why his company was interested in Korbit and Korea, citing the fact that South Korea has been an early adopter of digital goods in the past.
“The government supports innovation and even the bank foundation invests in Korbit. Pantera Capital is excited about the investment in Korbit and is confident that Bitcoin will flourish in Korea due to the early adoption of innovative technologies and the abundance of technical talent. “
Korbit is gaining ground in Korea
Korbit offers a bitcoin wallet, a payment processing service for merchants and a bitcoin exchange. In March, a reserve evidence cryptographic system called BitTrust was introduced, allowing users to register to verify that their balance is stored as claimed.
According to the company, it has registered 25,000 individual users for its consumer services and more than 400 merchants for the business-oriented Korbit Pay. The company’s customers include offline retailers such as Nescafe (coffee) in Gangnam and Natuur (ice cream) in Pangyo. Online retailers include Hanintel (accommodation reservation) and News Peppermint (news translation).
South Korea has a relatively small but growing Bitcoin user community that is mostly powered by online payment services that aim to keep the country’s large young population of online buyers and gamblers happy.
The country’s two largest bitcoin companies, Korbit and Coinplug, are in healthy competition to launch a range of sophisticated bitcoin services, including mobile apps, merchant software, and an ATM.
Images via Korbit