Two banks in South Korea recently announced that they are looking at crypto custody options. Woori and Shinhan banks have just announced their intention to introduce “crypto-asset services”. This implies that four of the country’s top five banks, holding a combined value of more than $1.2 trillion in assets, are now balanced to introduce crypto services.
Both Shinhan and Woori announced their plans in direct response to the amended Special Financial Transactions Information Act which will change regulation around crypto assets, coming into force next year. Each of the banks aims to save and manage cryptocurrencies for clients.
The government in January 2018, deterred the plans of Shinhan bank, which formerly declared their plans to store crypto in 2017. Blockchain teams have already coordinated to implement crypto custodial features by NH Nonghyup Bank and Kookmin Bank. The Nonghyup bank is the most progressive and hoping to launch services for institutional investors in the coming months.
South Korean Banks Well Below American Institutions
In the country, Blockchain experts have voiced concerns that these steps are too little, too slow referring to American institutions that are well ahead of South Korea’s banking sector. Park Sung-Joon, the head of the Blockchain Research Center at Dongguk University said he was worried that the nation’s financial competitiveness could be at risk as a result:
“Other countries are moving very quickly in this regard. But there is still no legal system in place in South Korea, so progress is slower than expected.”
He suggested that this push for crypto custody might not eventuate into widespread integration without institutional support.
South Korean loves crypto
Other industries have been faster to integrate it into their operations, despite the finance sector slow reaction to blockchain technology. One of South Korea’s biggest banks KEB Hana Bank has partnered with the Korea Expressway Corporation to implement a blockchain-based toll system for the country’s highways. After only 3 months, more than 1 million people have adopted a new blockchain-based digital driver’s license app.
News emerged this week that Seongnam’s payment program will be expanded by issuing new digital gift certificates while beachgoers in Busan will be able to pay for services with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).