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S. Korean bakery shop introduces bitcoin payments

2013/12/03 13:18

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- A bakery shop has started accepting payments in bitcoin, an electronic currency, for the first time in South Korea, the shop operator said Tuesday, heralding the arrival of a new payment system and a new form of currency in the country.

The franchise shop in Incheon, just west of Seoul, introduced the payment system on Sunday through which customers can buy goods with bitcoins, according to the operator Lee Jong-soo.

Bitcoin is a digital currency used for online and offline purchases and is also traded like stocks on various exchanges. The new kind of currency, however, is not backed by physical assets and its value depends on the public's confidence in the currency.

"We introduced the new payment system expecting the bitcoin-payment system to be more popular," Lee said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

Lee said the price of a product is shown in bitcoin units through a currency conversion application offered by Mt. Gox, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, and a customer can pay the price with his or her electronic money by transferring bitcoins to Lee's smartphone.

In short, a customer transfers an amount of bitcoins from his or her account into Lee's account, he said.

As more business owners become aware of digital currency, more shops will embrace bitcoin payments, according to Lee.

It has been gaining popularity by the general public but has yet to become an accepted form of payment at major retailers and online shops around the globe.