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South Korean bank Woori to begin crypto custody service

2 min read

TL;DR Breakdown

  • South Korean banks show continued interest in crypto market
  • Woori, latest Korea bank to plan joining the crypto industry
  • Before Korean banks, JP Morgan, Goldman Scahs expressed interest in joining crypto space

South Korean bank Woori has joined many other banks from the country to begin offering crypto custody services to its users.

Local report in South Korea has it that a unit of The South Korean bank, Woori financial group is now the latest major South Korean financial institution to announce it will launch digital asset custody services.

Woori would partner Coinplug, a BTC-based fintech solution firm, to create a digital asset custody joint venture, dubbed D-Custody.

The BTC fintech firm would be the largest shareholder of the crypto custody bank, while Woori bank would be the second-largest shareholder of the business. The joint venture is said to be incorporated in the coming weeks.

Why South Korean banks can’t independently go crypto

The current legislation in Korea has it that domestic entities cannot access services of crypto exchanges which means banks can only go crypto through a joint venture or share investment.

Although South Korean banks are not to enter the digital asset market, a growing number of financial institutions are showing interest in the market and are coming in through partnership, just like Woori.

Banks in Korea have been entering the space since last year. In August 2020, four out of the five biggest South Korean banks has expressed interest in launching crypto custody services.

Kookmin, the country’s largest financial institution, had filed for a trademark application for its custody service in March 2020, before establishing Korea Digital Asset Co. in partnership with venture fund Hashed and local blockchain service firm Haechi Labs in November.

In June 2020 also, Nonghyup bank entered the market, launching a blockchain financial services consortium in partnership with blockchain developer Hexlant. They also announced their intention to float a custody service unit in partnership with another firm.

Another Korean bank, Shinhan, in January, said it had made a strategic investment in crypto custody consortium.

The trend of banks coming into the crypto space is not a new phenom with banks beyond Korea like JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, among others mulling coming into the digital market space at one point or another.

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