As athletes from around the world compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, at least one merchant sees an opportunity to boost profits by adding cryptos to the list of its accepted form of payments.
The merchant is Yongpyong Ski Zone, a ski rental shop that sells top-line ski apparel and Olympic souvenirs. Not all cryptos are accepted; just Ethereum. However, it shows how cryptos are still held in high regards by many South Koreans despite South Korean lawmakers’ hard stances on cryptocurrencies.
Yongpyong Ski Zone is reported to be the only merchant to be accepting any form of cryptos as payment during the Games. A Forbes’ contributor spoke to the manager of the shop and wrote:
It may give them peace of mind that they are not actually handling the Ethereum. Instead, users transfer cryptocurrency worth the Korean won equivalent through new local payment platform Coinduck, which in turn transfers the same Korean won amount to the store for a small transaction fee.
In another crypto/Olympics happening, at least one athlete opted for his sponsors to pay him in cryptos. We told you about Ted-Jan Bloemen, a two-time world record holder in speed skating from Canada, reaching agreements with sponsors ONG Social and CEEK VR to receive some of his compensation in virtual coins. He will use the virtual coins to attain his speed skating targets, CEEK VR said in a press statement.
What makes Bloemen’s deal unique is the lack of a fixed amount of cryptocurrency he would receive. Instead, he would earn currency rewards to fund the pursuit of his professional goals, we’ve reported.
South Korea and cryptos
South Koreans may have fallen in love with the cryptocurrency space, but many of the country’s lawmakers are not enamored with them at all. Their concerns are the same as those of regulators around the world, in that policy makers worry about bad actors preying on people.
Whether its money laundering, tax evasion, or ICO scams, South Korea’s regulators see many problems with the space. We reported last month that South Korea‘s Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said that the country’s proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was reached after intense consultations with concerned government agencies, including market regulators and the finance ministry.
“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies, and justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges.”
Still, South Korean crypto traders have not been deterred it seems. Bloomberg reported that during January, demand for Bitcoin was so extreme that it boosted prices in Korea 50% higher than those in the U.S.
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The premium has since receded, but policy makers are still worried. Given the nation’s outsized role in the crypto world, the prospect of a clampdown has captured the attention of traders worldwide. – Bloomberg