There’s no doubt Korea is establishing itself as a major blockchain hub in Asia. But did you know it was also known for its trendy cafe scene? How do blockchain and coffee shops work together you ask? Combine the two and you’ve got something very unique to Seoul: blockchain cafes. 

What do these cafes have that classify them as “blockchain cafes”? We wondered too, and decided to investigate further. Turns out there are two cafes in the Gangnam area alone that cater to the growing popularity of crypto / blockchain in Korea. 

Gangnam (yes the same from PSY’s famous song, Gangnam Style) is one of Seoul’s hottest districts. Packed with modern skyscrapers, upscale stores and plenty of attractions, no wonder PSY chose to write a song about its distinct charm. Gangnam is also home to many big businesses and startups, including Korean exchanges UpBit and Bithumb, which makes it the perfect place for a blockchain cafe. 

The Iconist had a chance to visit both cafes to give ICONists a glimpse into Korea’s thriving blockchain / crypto scene. 

Decentre

At first glance, Decentre looks like your average coffee shop in Seoul. It has a wide open space concept, with industrial-style counters and wooden accents. But upon closer inspection, you soon realize the little details that make it uniquely blockchain-esque. 

On the right-hand side of the cafe hangs three vertical screens, displaying ads for blockchain / crypto services and a list of cryptocurrency prices on major exchanges Upbit and Bithumb. And yes, ICX is also listed! The bigger display at the back also shows crypto prices and can be used for promotional purposes.

There is even a crypto ATM operated by T.OS Pay, making it convenient for users to easily trade and make purchases at the cafe. A personal touch I particularly appreciated was its ceiling lighting, which is styled in the shape of cubes, 500 to be exact. It’s a nice homage to blockchain’s visual representation, and can also be found in the cafe’s logo.

The cafe also offers the chance to rent the space for crypto and blockchain events, meetups or workshops. As they advertise on their website, it is “a space where you can experience the future, utilize cryptographic currency, and network with others for innovative knowledge and information.” 

Whether you want to enjoy a nice cup of coffee in a modern space or organize a blockchain event to expand your network, Decentre is the place to check out. If that wasn’t enough to entice you, a look at their selection of aesthetically pleasing drinks could change your mind!

Fun fact: Decentre is actually the first blockchain cafe in Korea, opening its door just last summer 2018.

Address: 105, Bongeunsa Road, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (Subway Line 9, Shinnonhyeon Station, Exit 3, 30m)

Opening Hours: Weekdays 07:30 ~ 23:00 / Weekends 09:00 ~ 23:00

Contact: 02-545-9899 / cafe@decentre.net

Huobi Blockchain Coffeehouse

Located just a 5 minute walk away from Decentre is Huobi Blockchain Coffeehouse, powered by major coffee shop chain Dalkomm. The cafe, operated jointly by Huobi and Dalkomm, was opened to foster the blockchain industry in Korea, and allow blockchain and crypto enthusiasts alike to exchange ideas, network and strengthen the community.  

Like any cafe in Seoul, the space offers a cozy interior with plenty of space to work or enjoy a casual conversation with a friend. What makes it blockchain-focused is its membership aspect —  people can join Huobi’s Blockchain Coffee Club. Leveraging Huobi Korea’s global network, the club, which has its own separate space in the basement of the building, offers support programs to nurture startups and provide them with mentorship and the necessary tools and information to grow. 

To realize its goal of making crypto / blockchain more accessible to the public, Huobi also offers its upstairs space for rent for blockchain and crypto meetups, educative workshops or related events, allowing members to expand their knowledge and networks, and have investment opportunities. 

If you’re looking to make some valuable connections in Korea’s blockchain and crypto industry, this blockchain cafe could be a great start.

Address: 2nd floor, 495 Gangnamdae-ro, Banpo 1-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul (Subway Line 9, Shinnonhyeon Station Exit 2, 200 m) 

Opening Hours: 09:00 ~ 18:00 

Contact: 02-511-9101 / cafe-kr@huobi.com

While this list is not extensive, more blockchain cafes are sure to pop up in and around Seoul in the near future, as the crypto market becomes increasingly recognized. And if you want to pair your cafe hopping adventures with a good book, feel free to look at our list of top blockchain books for 2019!