Coinplug, a startup Bitcoin merchant services and trading platform being developed for the Korean market, has received $400,000 in funding from Cupertino, Calif.-based Silverblue Inc.
Coinplug will use the investment to develop its online and mobile platforms, focusing on high security and reliability. The company plans on launching the exchange service in mid-December and the merchant service platform by the end of January, says Richard Yun, a spokesperson at Coinplug.
Right now in Korea not many people know about Bitcoin, so theres an opportunity to start and educate people, Yun says. Right now, especially in Korea, theres not much competition and people there are really familiar with the Internet and IT, so its a good market for a digital currency.
Coinplugs offering looks similar to that of California-based Coinbase which is working with Silicon Valley Bank to deliver Bitcoin services to U.S. consumers.
Coinplug aims to expand its services to other Asian countries as well. In several Asian markets, including Singapore and China, consumers have quickly adopted Bitcoin and the governments have taken a hands-off approach.
While these countries have so far taken a lighter approach to regulation of virtual currency, during a November U.S. Senate hearing on Bitcoin, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said other countries may soon establish regulatory guidelines for virtual currency that mirror the U.S. In March, FinCEN categorized Bitcoin exchangers and administrators as money services businesses. While U.S. regulation can be challenging for startups, investment remains hot in the Bitcoin market.