Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries. Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.
Bitcoin is unique in that there are a finite number of them: 21 million.
Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services.
As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment.
According to a 2014 report, Korea has the world’s third largest bitcoin exchange market behind Japan and the United States. In January 2014, BTC Korea Co. Ltd launched the world’s first physical bitcoin exchange, called Btc Korea Com Co Ltd., in Seoul.
In February 2014, the company announced it had acquired 100% of Korbit Inc., one of Korea’s leading bitcoin exchanges.
In March 2014, Bithumb, another South Korean bitcoin exchange, was also hacked, with 30,000 bitcoins (worth US$5 million at the time) stolen. The incident caused widespread panic among users and investors.
The popularity of Bitcoin in Korea seems to have grown in recent years as more and more people have become aware of the digital currency and its potential benefits. While there has been some negative publicity surrounding Bitcoin due to hacking incidents at exchanges, overall the trend seems to be positive with more people interested in using and investing in Bitcoin.