South Korea’s Goto Mall—All of It—Now Accepts Bitcoin

November 29, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

In news that might be described as one great whopping monster of a change, a major announcement emerged from South Korea’s Gangnam Terminal Underground Shopping Center, otherwise known as the Goto Mall, the largest of South Korea’s underground malls. Yes, South Korea has underground malls, and several of them. This massive shopping edifice will soon accept bitcoin in its stores.

In all its stores, actually; this may not sound like much until you consider there are 620 stores in the Goto Mall, which is around 100 more than the Mall of America can muster, and about 180 less than the West Edmonton Mall, one of the largest malls on Earth by total number of stores available.

About a half-million people per day, on average, walk through the 880 meter—nearly half a mile—span, which means a whole lot of folks about to be exposed to bitcoin, if they weren’t already. Plus, recent renovations in the area, like a new apartment complex, are set to bolster foot traffic still further.

The bitcoin rush starts mid-December, reports note, and Goto Mall has gone so far as to establish its own cryptocurrency exchange to support such operation. Teaming up with local exchange HTS Coin, the end result was a smart payment system that even comes with its own mobile app.

Goto Mall had previously tested a bitcoin payment system, but scrapped it after customers frequently lost passwords and made the currency inaccessible. With the new HTS Coin setup, it’s now easier to take bitcoin without risk of having it locked up due to password loss.

For frequent travelers, this is an impressive development. Imagine having access to a pool of cash that’s constantly available and can be refreshed from anywhere. No more stopping to convert currency upon arrival in a country any more, a development which can itself save travelers a lot of time and hassle. Of course, the impact of this development beyond saving time for frequent travelers may be lost on some—surely South Koreans are more interested in spending their won in direct paper form, or even in locally-denominated mobile payments.

Still, there’s seldom anything wrong with saving time, and this development should help travelers do more while in country instead of spending a lot of time shuffling paper.