South Korea's first Bitcoin startup, Korbit, has received $400,000 in seed funding from a group of investors. Korbit — which is also Korea's largest Bitcoin exchange, with more than 20,000 registered users — is now profitable after less than a year of operations.
Korbit's success is notable because of the role the South Korean government played. Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning funded the exchange's participation in the Silicon Valley-based pitching event that spurred much of the investment. The event was judged by Tim Draper, founder of venture capital company DFJ. Draper would go on to lead the $400,000 investment shortly afterwards.
Korbit's success was possible thanks to the South Korean government's involvement
Bitcoin has also seen backing from Korea's more traditional banking infrastructure. Korbit recieved seed funding from the Banks Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs, a group established by Korea's largest banking alliance. Draper noted the country's open attitude to the new online currency after leading the $400,000 investment. The venture capitalist said "Bitcoin's growth in Korea is remarkable for the sophistication of the public dialog around its potential for innovation and wealth creation." Draper thinks the country can "play a leading role in the future of global finance" by realizing the importance of Bitcoin, and moving to embrace it faster than other nations.