South Korea’s large commercial banks have been keeping their distance from cryptocurrencies in line with the government’s policy. But they are making an aggressive move to introduce blockchain technology. They are making a direct investment in blockchain companies or joining hands with startups to develop blockchain-based services.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency companies are releasing reports that the traditional financial industry is paying close attention to “techfin,” or financial services provided by technology firms, as part of their efforts to seek for a future growth engine and new business opportunities.
South Korea’s four largest commercial banks, including KB Kookmin, Shinhan, Woori and KEB Hana Bank, and the state-run IBK Industrial Bank of Korea have recently formed a “technology and service alliance” with blockchain firms, according to related industry sources on Sept. 2.
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) gave the green light in May to Kasa Korea’s plan to sell real estate beneficiary certificates to investors through its blockchain platform and decided to exempt it from regulations under the law on the capital market. KB Kookmin Bank and KEB Hana Bank were chosen as the partners for Kasa Korea at the time. They are now working together to issue digital real estate beneficiary certificates and open user accounts for the platform.
Commercial banks are also seeking to join hands with blockchain companies in the initial investment and accelerating sector. In addition, the project management unit of the banks and their affiliates are co-developing services with blockchain firms in the accelerating process.
An official from a blockchain company said, “Traditional financial firms which experienced fintech innovations in the Mobile Age, such as simple money transfer services Toss and Kakao Bank, are now seeking to develop blockchain-based financial products. They run internal blockchain-related units and hire experts in the sector to integrate blockchain technology with their own financial services.”