Two South Korean leading banks namely Woori and Shinhan have just announced their intention to introduce “crypto-asset services”. Meaning that four of the country’s top five banks, holding a combined value of over $1.2 trillion in assets, are now poised to introduce cryptocurrency related services.
Each of the banks aims to carry and manage crypto assets for clients. Both Shinhan and Woori revealed their plans in direct response to the amended Special Financial Transactions Information Act which can amend legislation concerned with cryptocurrency assets, coming into force next year.
Earlier in 2017, Shinhan bank announced its plans for crypto storage, but these plans were thwarted by the govt later in January 2018.
The NH Nonghyup Bank and Kookmin Bank have already coordinated blockchain teams to implement crypto custodial features, with Nonghyup the foremost advanced and hoping to launch services for “institutional investors” within the coming months.
South Korea Moving Too Swiftly Towards Adoption
Blockchain experts within the country have voiced concerns that these steps are “too little, too late” citing American institutions that are well before South Korea’s banking sector. The top of the Blockchain research facility at Dongguk University Park Sung-joon added that he was “worried” that the nation’s financial “competitiveness” might be in jeopardy as a result:
“Other countries are moving very quickly within this regard. But there’s still no system in situ in South Korea, so progress is slower than expected.”
Without “institutional support”, he suggested that this push for cryptocurrency custody won’t eventuate into widespread integration.
South Korea & Love For Cryptocurrencies
On the other hand, the finance sector has been criticized for its slow uptake on blockchain technology, other industries are faster to integrate it into their solutions. Over 1 Mln users have adopted a new blockchain-based digital driver’s license app after solely 3 months. One among South Korea’s leading banks KEB Hana Bank has collaborated with the Korea Expressway Corporation to implement a blockchain-based toll system for the country’s highways.
An another news emerged From South Korea that Seongnam’s payment program will be expanded by issuing new digital gift certificates while beachgoers in Busan will be able to buy services with Bitcoin [BTC] and Ethereum [ETH].