Cryptocurrency holders at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics can now use ethereum at seven locations in South Korea instead of won.
According to a report from the Korea Times, six locations in PyeongChang and one in Gangneung are accepting the digital currency from customers. South Korean app Coinduck, created by blockchain builder Chain Partners, will facilitate the transactions, charging a two percent service fee.
In PyeongChang people will be able to use their ethereum coins at a coffee shop, a hotel, a souvenir shop renting skis and snowboards, and three lodging facilities. In Gangneung customers can use their digital currency at a restaurant serving blowfish.
Notably, though, even though ethereum has seen record highs there haven’t been many reports of transactions taking place. So far, only a few traders have been reported, according to the Korea Times.
The first ethereum transaction occurred on the 18th February at the ski rental shop. The transaction amounted to 100,000 won ($93). At one of the lodging facilities, one customer paid 150,000 won ($140). No transactions have been reported at the restaurant.
This news comes at a time when the country’s authorities are working at improving the transparency of cryptocurrency transactions in the country. In January, the South Korean government banned the use of anonymous trading accounts, ordering investors to use real-name bank accounts if they wished to continue trading. Those that didn’t comply with the new rules faced a penalty.
However, despite this hard-nosed approach to the market, it appears that South Korea isn’t intent on following China’s footsteps with an outright ban. So much so, that last week it was reported that South Korea’s government was considering a licensing system similar to New York’s BitLicense as a way of regulating digital currency exchanges in the country.
Additionally, today it was reported that South Korean authorities had signaled support for ‘normal’ cryptocurrency trading. This, in turn, has helped to bump bitcoin’s price up.
Choe Heungsik, governor of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), said in a report from Bloomberg that he wants to see normalised trading of cryptocurrencies.
Arthur Hayes, Chief Executive Officer of BitMEX, a Seychelles-based peer-to-peer crypto-coin trading platform, said: “South Korea did not ban bitcoin. We’ve now gone up almost double in the last few weeks, and I think a lot of this is people coming around to the fact that bitcoin trading isn’t going anywhere.”
At the time of publishing, bitcoin is trading at $11,614, representing a 34.53 percent rise over the past seven days, according to CoinMarketCap. Ethereum is valued at $945, which has seen a near 12 percent increase in the same time.