Austin Tuwiner • May 4th, 2019

Buy Bitcoin in South Korea

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Buy Bitcoin in South KoreaYou’ve heard about Bitcoin a few times now, and you’re ready to purchase some.


There are so many options for purchasing Bitcoin in South Korea, that you are left confused.

Here’s the bottom line: Coinmama will be the best option for most of our South Korean readers.

However, like most things, there’s no universal choice.

Don’t worry.

Bitpremier has researched all options for purchasing Bitcoin in South Korea, making it easy for you to come to an educated decision.

Best Bitcoin Exchanges in South Korea


Coinmama Review

Coinmama is one of the most popular exchanges around the world, and for good reason. The exchange offers credit and debit card transactions in exchange for Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies such as Ripple, Ethereum, and more.

In terms of transaction fees, the exchange takes around 6% due to the high cost of processing a card transaction.  For limits, Coinmama allows up to $5,000 daily, up to $20,000 monthly.

One interesting aspect of Coinmama is that they don’t offer custodial Bitcoin wallets like some of the other exchanges well mention below.

What does this mean for you?

This requires you to own your own Bitcoin wallet/address before purchasing on the exchange. For more information on Bitcoin wallets, check out our guide.

Visit Coinmama


LocalBitcoins is a more private way of purchasing Bitcoin. At its core, LocalBitcoins is an escrow service that facilitates person to person transactions. One of the most common types of transactions on the exchange is cash transactions.

In exchange for the escrow service, the exchange takes around 1% fee. Keep in mind, that sellers on the exchange will also offer premiums on the price of Bitcoin. This premium will vary on the method, with the fee going up as the payment method risk does.

Visit LocalBitcoins


Korbit Crypto Exchange

Korbit prides itself on being the worlds first Korean Won cryptocurrency exchange. Like most other exchanges, Korbit has an order book where you are purchasing directly from another person.

In the case of Coinmama, you are purchasing from the company, making them more of a brokerage than an exchange.

This may be intimidating for a cryptocurrency beginner, but usually leads to lower fee purchases.

In Korbit’s case, the exchange offers between .01%-.2% fees all depending on your monthly trading volume, and if you are a maker or a taker.

A maker is someone who offers liquidity, while a taker is someone who takes liquidity from the order book.

Visit Korbit


CPDAX Exchange

CPDAX is another popular Korean exchange that has been around for a while. One common complaint with this exchange is that the user interface is a bit difficult to navigate. This is something you’ll have to try for yourself.

One cool thing about this exchange is that cards can be picked up at many stores in Korea for deposit onto the exchange. This offer is great for gifting, and actually offers a decent amount of privacy as only a phone number is needed for purchase.

For fees, CPDAX has extremely low trading fees, as low as .1% depending on volume.


Bitcoin in South Korea

South Korea has one of the largest markets in the world for cryptocurrency and influences the market only after the United States and Japan. Here, we tell you everything you need to know about cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin in South Korea.

Cryptocurrency Market in South Korea

South Korea is barely the size of California and Arizona combined, yet it is responsible for more than 5 percent of all Bitcoin transactions according to data from exchanges.

It only comes after Japan’s Yen and the United States Dollar, the latter pair have grown considerably close in the past year.

While South Korea is not as large as the United States, the popularity of Bitcoin and other digital currencies in the country is responsible for the frenzied statistics.

There is a significant rush of activity in the crypto space in South Korea compared to most countries including the US.

Going by the percentage of South Koreans who have invested in Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies, or have even heard of ‘Bitcoin,’ the number significantly dwarfs a similar study that was carried out online in the United States where only 6 percent of people above fifty attested to having cryptocurrencies at one point to another.

Agreed the numbers are notably skewed given the size of the respondents and the focus of the survey, a similar study in South Korea emphatically thumps this.

According to a published study revealed on the ABC news, more than a third of salary earners in South Korea have invested in Bitcoin.

If you are looking to be the latest, you are definitely not going to be the first. South Korea has a rich blockchain and cryptocurrency atmosphere that has refused to be dampened by the government’s strict regulations.

Bitcoin and blockchain are thriving at their best in South Korea, but the government’s stringent watch over the industry might be making South Korea’s crypto space uncomfortable for more than a few.

Is Bitcoin Legal in South Korea?

Is it legal to trade Bitcoin in South Korea? The short answer is yes! However, going on, things might become a little more complex than that.

Despite having one of the richest hubs for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology all over the world, South Korea has one of the most stringent crypto regulations across ‘Bitcoin-accepting’ countries.

One of the best attributes of cryptocurrency trading is anonymity; in South Korea, there isn’t much room for hiding your identity, if you are serious about buying any Bitcoin anyway.

2017 was responsible for one of the craziest frenzies for cryptocurrencies and South Koreans were at the heart of things during the extraordinary rise of Bitcoin to reach an all-time high of about $20,000.

A study revealed that more than 80 percent of Korean cryptocurrency investors reported a significant profit in their investments: while the number is impressive, the frenzy surely did not last long.

The South Korean government came down hard on the cryptocurrency sector in the country and brought things to an abrupt end, albeit for a short time.

South Korean Government Stance On Bitcoin?

January 11, 2018, CNB reported that the South Korean government was contemplating shutting down all cryptocurrency exchanges in the country for good, emulating China’s ban.

They did, however, loosen their stance some weeks after and imposed a new regulation instead requiring all users of crypto exchanges to be registered by names and optionally linked to their physical bank accounts.

All changes were made to remove anonymity, as the government cited reasons for crypto frauds for its action.

The new regulations now require cryptocurrency owners and traders to link their bank accounts to their cryptocurrency holdings under their real name—a growing initiative termed Know Your Customer (KYC).

By linking their crypto accounts and wallets to their real names, there is a less likely chance for cryptocurrency frauds to occur, while the government also plays a strong foothold on money laundering.

Owning and trading Bitcoins however is not available/legal to everyone in South Korea, there are a few exceptions.

Is Bitcoin Banned in South Korea?

Not everyone is eligible to trade or have cryptocurrencies in the country, and the government has outlined two major classes in Korea that are not authorized to trade Bitcoins. These are foreigners (either living in Korean or not), and minors.

The new regulation is intent on banning foreigners from outside South Korea trading in Bitcoins on South Korean exchanges.

While the government is yet to give a definite reason for blacklisting foreigners from trading, a lot of analysts have speculated that Korea’s commitment to preventing banned Chinese traders from trading on Korean exchanges as an alternative might be chief of those reasons.

South Korea has more than twelve prominent crypto exchanges in the country despite its relatively small size; this is the only testament to the rate of crypto adoption in the country.

Here, we list a few where you could buy Bitcoins from.

Korbit and CoinPlug are some of the largestest crypto exchanges in South Korea and they might want to be your first stop.

The former is known for its extremely low transaction fees and deep liquidity, but CoinPlug is generally referred to as a more user-friendly exchange especially for newbies. Otherwise, Korbit trumps all exchanges in South Korea for a reason.

South Korea continues to thrive despite imposed limitations, which aren’t proving to be enough limitations at all.

The country is also leading the race as one of the foremost adopters of blockchain technology and shouldn’t surprise anyone if they grow to be major influencers in the near future.


And there you have it! A complete guide to the most popular options for purchasing Bitcoin in South Korea!

Austin Tuwiner Administrator
Austin is the owner of Bitpremier, and got involved in Bitcoin in 2012. After working as a cryptocurrency journalist and and at several blockchain startups, he decided to start Bitpremier and educate the world on Bitcoin.
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