With rising interest in the virtual money “bitcoins,” the Bank of Korea (BOK) falls in the doghouse, since it feels somewhat pressured to reveal its official stance on the virtual money, although it is emerging as a new method for debt settlement.
Korea’s central bank shows, however, some flexibility now when compared to the previous position that entirely blocked the possibility of using it as money.
The BOK said on December 3 that it made a report on bitcoins and is pondering a measure to open the virtual money to the public. The report however includes a negative opinion on the possibility of its use as a future currency.
Currently about 20,000 online and offline stores around the world including Baidu and Wordpress accept bitcoins as digital money.
Bitcoins are very useful, in particular, for international transactions due to low fees. In addition, bitcoins can nurture the software industry as smart devices like the iPhone have brought about the development of various software applications.
There are no stores in Korea that accept bitcoins except Korbit, which was established in April this year, specifically to facilitate trading in bitcoins. Bitcoins are only used for investment purposes, not for the trade of goods.
Under such circumstances, a Paris Baguette in Incheon City started to accept bitcoins and developed a tablet application for bitcoin settlement. A floor salesperson said, “Although we use the application, there are not many customers who pay with bitcoins, because we started the service very recently.”