As the world turns to consider alternative, more hygienic methods of payment, banks are looking to digital assets. Four of the top five banks in South Korea are looking to introduce “crypto-assets” services to their platform.
Recently announced, South Korea’s Woori and Shinhan banks are intending to launch cryptocurrency services for customers and users. With these two banks looking at onboarding cryptocurrency features, it means four of the top five banks are investing their energy into cryptocurrency exploration. The four banks also make up a combined value of more than $1.2 trillion USD, which indicates a massive potential for cryptocurrency services.
The Potential for Cryptocurrency Custodial Services
As in the report, these features will include a custodial service which means the banks will be responsible for managing the assets to generate profit:
“By introducing a custodial service, banks can manage their customers’ virtual assets like cash or funds and generate profits based on them.”
As the banks make the move to explore blockchain, there are cautions and concerns that it is too late. Blockchain Research Center at Dongguk University header Park Sung-joon commented that he was concerned about the “competitiveness” for the country’s financial climate, saying:
“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.”
Blockchain Adoption Across Industries
Despite the concerns regarding the slow adoption in the financial sector, there has been a large integration of blockchain in South Korea. In the country, more than one million individuals have downloaded a blockchain-based application for a digital driver’s license after a mere three months’ time. In addition to this, Seongnam’s payment program has expanded to include digital gift certificates. There has also been a recent launch of a pilot programme for tourists to pay for beach-front activities using Bitcoin and Ethereum.
This indicates that the country and the citizens are not averse to the technology and that adoption for more blockchain-based solutions are on the cards.