Date
27 May 2018
South Korean online marketplace WeMakePrice hopes to be able to accept cryptocurrency payments in the near future, following a partnership with exchange operator Bithumb. Photo: WeMakePrice
South Korean online marketplace WeMakePrice hopes to be able to accept cryptocurrency payments in the near future, following a partnership with exchange operator Bithumb. Photo: WeMakePrice

Korean e-commerce firm WMP plans to accept virtual currencies

South Korean e-commerce platform WeMakePrice (WMP) said on Monday that it aims to be able to accept cryptocurrency payments within the first quarter of this year, according to Korea Times.

The Seoul-based firm has partnered with Bithumb, the nation’s top cryptocurrency exchange, as part of efforts to facilitate cryptocurrency payments, a spokesman was quoted as saying.

If the plans succeed, WMP will become the first major online shopping platform in Korea to allow customers to pay for their purchases using cryptocurrencies, the newspaper noted.

Cryptocurrencies that are listed on the Bithumb exchange, which include bitcoin, ethereum, ripple and nine others, are expected to be available for use.

“The partnership calls for Bithumb to be in sync with WMP’s mobile payment system Wonder Pay, under which the price that the customer should pay will be decided in accordance with the present value of a certain digital coin used for payment,” the WMP spokesman told the paper.

“The key issue is how to address the issue over price fluctuations in cryptocurrencies; therefore, development of a real-time price checking system is in the pipeline to avoid any confusion,” added  spokesman, who was identified as Lee Hanul.

WMP is working with the cryptocurrency exchange operator to make transactions more stable and transparent, Lee said.

The e-commerce firm is said to be developing systems to directly connect the cryptocurrency exchange into the former’s Wonder Pay system without using the processing system of banks or credit card issuers, a move that could help bring down transaction costs for customers.

Under the new payment feature, when a consumer decides to buy a product on WeMakePrice, Bithumb will automatically finalize the real-time price based on the market value, and immediately send the information to WeMakePrice’s Wonderpay to avoid confusion over price fluctuation, according to Korea Herald.

As per that report, the launch date of the service is yet to be decided. The service will kick off as soon as the Korean government settles regulations and policies on virtual currency exchanges, it said.

As a measure to prevent money laundering, customers will be barred from purchasing WMP-issued gift certificates with virtual currency, which can be sold and traded for cash in offline markets.

Some overseas retailers such as Overstock and Newegg have accepted bitcoin as a payment option for years. A Japanese consumer electronics retail chain, Yamada Denki, recently announced that it is joining hands with the Bitflyer cryptocurrency exchange to trial bitcoin payments. 

Overall, however, bitcoin’s price volatility, relatively slow transaction times and high processing fees have led to many merchants rethinking their decisions to accept cryptocurrencies.

Last December, gaming platform Steam stopped accepting payments in bitcoin, citing high fees and volatility. Tech giant Microsoft once stopped accepting bitcoin earlier this month at its store, before resuming the transactions.

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BN/RC

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