South Korea’s largest commercial banks including Shinhan and Woori have continued to support cryptocurrency exchanges after Kookmin, the biggest bank in the country, denied to provide financial services to trading platforms.
Shinhan and Omise
Since then, both Shinhan and Woori have supported a series of pro-blockchain and pro-cryptocurrency initiatives. In January, Shinhan, the second largest bank in South Korea, announced that it has begun the development of a bitcoin wallet and vault system with which bank users can safely store bitcoin in a cold wallet. In February, Shinhan completed trials with Ripple Labs, utilizing the Ripple network and its liquidity system xRapid to send cross-border payments in a blockchain network.
This month, Shinhan entered a strategic partnership with OmiseGo, an Ethereum-based banking and payments platform, to accelerate the adoption and implementation of blockchain technology in Asia, and more specifically, South Korea.
In South Korea, upon the completion of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Shinhan and the Ethereum startup, Omise CEO Jun Hasegawa stated:
“Omise and OmiseGO are working to revolutionize the way digital value moves globally, with an end goal of creating a platform that facilitates a decentralized economy. The OMG platform, using the Plasma architecture, is being built as a public network that is powered by Ethereum. The first phase of the wallet SDK was recently released and is available for anyone to use. We want to make it easy for those who need online asset exchange as part of their business to connect seamlessly to the OMG Network.”
The official statement of Omise revealed that in the upcoming months, Shinhan will closely work with Omise to integrate its blockchain technology in various areas of the bank’s operations. Shinhancard, the credit card department of Shinhan Bank, is expected to develop new business models and key application opportunities based on the OmiseGo technology, becoming the first major credit card company in Asia to apply blockchain technology.
Omise will also process Shinhan FAN card and overseas merchant base, potentially settling transactions for Shinhan merchants using the OmiseGo blockchain, and ultimately, the Ethereum blockchain.
“The MoU establishes a framework for closer collaboration between each party; leveraging Omise’s broad portfolio of payment technology and solutions, and OmiseGO’s server and mobile SDKs that have been made publicly available for the purpose of onboarding e-wallet providers,” the Omise team said.
In November 2017, CCN reported that Shinhan began the development of its bitcoin wallet and vault system. Its representative stated:
“Shinhan is testing a virtual bitcoin vault platform wherein the private keys of bitcoin addresses and wallets are managed and issued by the bank. The bank intends to provide the vault service for free and charge a fee for withdrawals.”
The MoU between Omise and Shinhan could lead to the Omise development team cooperating with Shinhan in completing the development of its cryptocurrency wallet, given that the Omise team revealed the MoU was signed to allow Omise to cooperate with the major South Korean bank in developing a variety of blockchain solutions.