South Korean digital currency exchange Coinplug has closed Series B fundraising round, which brought in an additional $5 million. After completing four funding rounds, the company has raised in total $8.3 million from nine investors, including Tim Draper and Bokwang Investment.
The company, which is mainly targeted at Asian customers, plans to use the funds to speed up the development of its financial services. Other investors included Mirae Asset Venture Investment and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Capstone Partners Korea, Key Initiatives Technical Entrepreneur, DSC Investment, SBI Investment, Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and Silverblue.
Coinplug, which was opened in 2013 by Ryan Uhr and Jay Hong, offers a wide range of services, including bitcoin exchange, payment processing, a cryptocurrency wallet and a bitcoin ATM. In addition, the company provides okBitcard, a virtual currency gift card that allows users to make purchases at convenience stores.
To use the card at ATMs, users have to choose ‘okBitcard’ on the kiosk’s screen, then provide their identification data, such as a mobile number and date of birth, insert a credit card and print a receipt. Coinplug plans to make the feature available in other stores soon.
However, Coinplug is not the only company in Asia that sells bitcoin cards. Malaysia-based Cryptomarket and Singapore’s CoinPip have also traded digital currency preloaded cards, although in a smaller volume. The companies launched bitcoin cards service with an aim of facilitating the use of cryptocurrency among consumers in Asia.
The first two-way ATMs in South Korea were installed by Coinplug in one of Seoul’s malls in 2014 and allowed users to trade bitcoins with the use of cash. Still, the machines allow only three transactions per day, each for a maximum of $200.
Earlier this year, Coinplug partnered with 7-Eleven, the largest chain of retail convenience stores in South Korea, to enable consumers to make purchases with the use of bitcoin. The move eliminated the necessity for people unfamiliar with the technology to learn how to utilize ATMs for making transactions.
Currently, the users of Coinplug can transfer virtual money using their phone numbers, email addresses and such popular apps as Line, Telegram and KakaoTalk. These ways of sending cryptocurrency don’t require consumers to have a bank account or a digital currency wallet in order to use bitcoin. Coinplug is now in plans to launch these services in other regions as well.
The app users are also able to convert bitcoin into Korean Won (KRW) and transfer it to the recipient’s bank account. But to do this, the sender has to know the recipient’s bank account and phone number.