Bitcoin rises as South Korea's cyber dough

Paris Baguette store becomes the first physical shop in South Korea to recognize Bitcoin as a form of payment, allowing its customers to buy its goods using the virtual currency.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor
Customers can pay by Bitcoin at South Korea's Paris Baguette.

A store under South Korea's bakery chain, Paris Baguette, has begun accepting Bitcoin as another form of payment at its outlets, becoming the first physical store in the country to do so. 

Local news agency Yonhap reported that customers can make their purchases at the outlet by transferring bitcoins to the shopowner's smartphone, which value will be based on the conversion rate displayed on an app offered by Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin trading platform.

"We introduced the new payment system expecting the Bitcoin payment system to be more popular... It was regrettable that there was no place in the country where people can purchase goods with bitcoins, though interest in the digital currency has grown," said Lee Jong-soo, who runs the Paris Baguette outlet in Incheon. He added that he expected more to follow suit as business owners realize the importance of the virtual currency. 

In a report by local newspaper AJU Business Daily, Lee said one of his two sons who studied finance in the U.S., introduced Bitcoin to his family, while his other son developed a smartphone app for Bitcoin payment.

Bitcoin has grown exponentially in value since U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it "may hold long-term promise" at a senate hearing last month. One Bitcoin is currently worth US$999.

In Singapore, Bitcoin is also accepted as a form of payment at local bar, Bartini Kitchen

BTC China became the world's biggest trading platform and the People's Bank of China last week said it would not stop the use of the currency, though it had no plans to legalize its use. India also has a 50,000-strong Bitcoin community, of whom at least 30,000 own the currency. 

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