A new report has suggested that South Korea’s two biggest internet-focused tech titans, Kakao and Naver, may be well-poised to take the next step in crypto pay and crypto exchange-related business expansion.
Both have already placed a foot firmly into the door of crypto, but are still taking cautious baby steps, rather than rushing in head-first.
Kakao, the operator of the KakaoTalk chat app and a number of payment and financial services, has launched a blockchain subsidiary named Ground X, as well as the Klaytn blockchain protocol, the klay cryptoasset and the Klip crypto wallet, which is linked to the KakaoTalk interface.
It was also one of the first investors in the Upbit crypto exchange.
Naver, meanwhile, is the part-owner and founder of the rival chat app Line. Although Line has enjoyed limited market penetration in South Korea, it has been a roaring success in Japan, where it is the most widely used messaging service in the country.
And per EDaily, the firms could be tempted to make bolder moves in the weeks ahead.
The fully diluted market capitalization of klay, per market estimates at the time of writing, is around USD 33.5bn – a figure that if correct would equate about 86% of Kakao’s total market capitalization. Moreover, klay rallied by almost 4,600% in a year.
This could inspire Kakao to strike while the iron is hot, with an academic telling the media outlet that customers in South Korea are growing increasingly keen on solutions that would let them spend their crypto.
Professor Park Soo-yong of Sogang University was quoted as stating that “the demand for crypto payments from consumers is increasing. The professor added that “companies’ attempts to introduce cryptocurrency elements in the payments sphere will continue” – claiming that recent moves by the likes of Tesla in the USA have emboldened them.
A payments firm named Danal has also enjoyed success with its crypto-powered Paycoin app, which allows customers to pay at chains like Domino’s Pizza, BBQ Chicken, the retailing giant Kyobo and Golf Zone using crypto. Major supermarket and cinema chains are also set to follow with partnership deals.
The report’s authors also spoke of the possibility of a Line-Naver collaboration in the South Korean crypto market, although Line refused to confirm nor deny the possibility of such a move and stated that it was “too early” to move after a new crypto-specific law promulgated in the country last week.
However, the media outlet said that Naver was “interested” in exploring possible business avenues such as order book sharing solutions for domestic crypto exchanges through Line’s crypto operations in Japan.
– Chat App KakaoTalk’s Crypto Wallet Now Has 0.75m Users
– Kakao Talks up DeFi, Wants to Build ‘Digital Asset Trading Ecosystem’
– Big South Korean Companies Preparing For ‘Crypto-powered’ Era
– Visa Starts Settling Transactions in USD Coin On Ethereum
– Why This Bitcoin-Believing Startup Bets on Facebook’s Diem Instead