So, you’ll recall we told you about how users of local fintech company Danal Fintech’s Paycoin app can now use Bitcoin to pay for a cup of coffee in Korea? (With plans to add ICX support, we will remind you!)
Well, according to one news outlet, there are a few kinks to work out.
Reporters from the Korean online news website The Fact recently visited a branch of local coffee shop chain Holly’s Coffee in Seoul to give the new service a spin.
They purchased an iced Americano — price: KRW 4,100 (about USD 3.50) — using Bitcoin, but they had to go through four processes to do so:
- First they needed to buy Bitcoin at a crypto exchange.
- Then they needed to send the Bitcoin to their Paycoin wallet.
- Then they needed to convert the Bitcoin in Paycoin (i.e., Paycoin’s cryptocurrency).
- Finally, they paid for the coffee using Paycoin currency.
The whole process took about 40 minutes. Which is a long time to pay for a cup of coffee. Most of the wait was from the Upbit side, though.
According to The Fact, there were other inconveniences that made this a wildly impractical way to buy a cup of joe.
When you withdraw Bitcoin from major Korean crypto exchange Upbit, the exchange charges a BTC 0.0009 commission, which is something like KRW 36,000. Moreover, the minimum withdrawal you can make from Upbit is BTC 0.001, or about KRW 40,000.
So, to pay for a KRW 4,100 cup of coffee, you’d need around KRW 76,000, or USD 66 dollars.
And yes, there’s Bitcoin’s relatively wild value fluctuations, too.
OK, but who would actually DO this?
To be fair to Danal Fintech, most users of their service likely are experienced crypto users with pre-existing Bitcoin accounts. We’re also guessing that most would have already sent their Bitcoin to their Paycoin wallets before they’ve entered the coffee shop.
Even if users haven’t converted the BTC in their Paycoin wallet before their visit, The Fact admits doing so takes only five minutes.
So, yeah, if you go to a coffee shop, purchase Bitcoin, transfer and convert it on site, it’s going to take a lot longer than plopping down a KRW 5,000 bill. But we can’t imagine anyone actually doing that.
Moreover, yes, KRW 76,000 is a lot to move around if all you were doing is paying for a single cup of coffee.
But users would presumably be doing more with their BTC than buying coffee. The Paycoin app is good at 70,000 shops across Korea, including convenience stores CU and 7-Eleven and the massive Kyobo Book Centre.
God knows this writer has dropped more than KRW 76,000 at Kyobo — and at CU, for that matter, especially when the local liquor store is closed for the night.
Point is, anything that lets you use your cryptocurrency to, you know, actually buy things rather than just sit around and (hopefully) appreciate in value is a step in the right direction. Even if it’s still a work in progress.
And we here at The Iconist can’t wait until Danal soon makes it possible to do the same with ICX.