The Korean startup Coinplug has completed an investment round that was partially paid for in Bitcoin.
Coinplug raised $ 400,000 from the Cupertino-based fund SilverBlue, with half of the amount raised in Bitcoin and the rest in fiat currency. The startup plans to launch a digital currency exchange, wallet and merchant platform in Korea in mid-December.
“It is SilverBlue’s first investment,” said Richard Yun, SilverBlue General Manager. “In Korea, people are changing over to new technologies very quickly, I think [bitcoin usage] will boom in Korea as in China. “
According to Yun, who has a board seat at Coinplug and will act as interim finance director, the investment will be used to develop a trading and trading platform on the internet and across multiple mobile operating systems.
Coinplug is expected to hit the market on December 17th and has 15 engineers on its team spread across Korea and Silicon Valley. Yun claims Coinplug will provide security at the financial institution level to its users.
Korea is a relatively undeveloped bitcoin market. When Coinplug hits its launch date, much like Coinbase, it will be the first end-to-end platform in the country, offering everything from exchanges to wallet and merchant services. Yun says interest in Bitcoin is growing in Korea, but pent-up demand is not easily met by existing international exchanges like Coinbase. The legal status of the Bitcoin exchange in Korea is currently ambiguous. He added:
“Bitcoin is the main news in Korea right now, but we need to educate people about it. You really want to buy. “
Coinplug won’t be the first Korean bitcoin exchange. One fixed price exchange has been operated by a company called Bitcoin Korea since 2012, and another exchange called Korbit was launched that year. Yun is confident that Coinplug will beat the incumbents.
“People can compare [our competitors’] Size to our size when we start. We have good technologists and we have the resources, ”he said.
The founders of CoinPlug and Silverblue have a long history. The founder and CEO of Coinplug is Ryan JoonSun Uhr, who founded the Korean company Celizion for mobile location-based services in 2002. He was also the chief technology officer of Exio Communications, a wireless technology company in San Jose that acquired Cisco Systems for US $ 165 million. Ki Hyun Joo, founder of Exio, is the general manager of SilverBlue. Both men and Yun worked for Cisco Systems for several years.
Asian bitcoin exchanges have been in the news recently. For example, the BTC China exchange became the world’s largest exchange by trading volume last month, surpassing Japan’s Mt. Gox. The Chinese stock exchange also raised $ 5 million in funding this month. GoCoin, a payment processor headquartered in Singapore, also announced a $ 550,000 launch this month. Owen Van Natta, a former Facebook Chief Operating Officer, was a noted participant in the round.
Investors are rushing to fund Bitcoin exchanges. Venture companies pumped an unprecedented $ 9 million to Circle in Boston late last month. Investors included Jim Breyer, Accel Partners, and General Catalyst Partners. Circle’s founder is Jeremy Allaire, who previously helped develop the ColdFusion web development language.
Other exchanges that have brought in significant sums of money are Coinbase with $ 6.88 million to date and BitPay with $ 2.51 million.
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