S.Korea’s Shinhan Securities plans a hoped-for crypto expansion

S.Korea’s Shinhan Securities plans a hoped-for crypto expansion

Shinhan Securities Co., Ltd., a leading securities firm in South Korea, is preparing to launch a digital asset valuation service, according to local media outlet Digital Today, making it Shinhan’s latest attempt to incorporate blockchain and crypto into its services.

The company has recently made new recruitments for its blockchain team, whose duties include supporting a digital asset valuation business JV (joint venture), developing smart contracts and a crypto trading system and others such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverse, Shinhan wrote on the job posting.

However, Shinhan says their crypto business is unlikely to take off anytime soon. “We have no specific business plans to promote anything [crypto] Still, we are studying and exploring the industry and technology,” said a representative of Shinhan Securities’ public relations team Discard.

This comes as South Korean laws restrict local banks and financial institutions from operating outside of traditional finance, limiting them to owning no more than 15% of a company that is in a non-financial sector.

See related article: South Korean banks seek green light for crypto

But Shinhan appears to be preparing for the day when South Korea eases those restrictions.

The country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), announced in July this year that it is pushing for “bold reforms” to its financial regulations in line with the global movement of digital transformation. One of the topics debated among regulators is whether to allow financial firms to invest in cryptocurrencies or operate crypto-related businesses.

Prior to the recent recruitment, Shinhan Securities has been making proactive efforts to branch out into blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

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Over the summer, the securities company partnered with blockchain-based fintech firm Delio to develop products and services based on blockchain technology. Earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with blockchain technology firm Superblock to help Shinhan internalize the technology needed to pursue digital asset businesses.

The bank subsidiary under Shinhan Financial Group, which accumulated its largest amount of net profit as a financial institution in the 3rd quarter of 2022, is also knee-deep in blockchain.

See related article: Spurred by Terra-LUNA, South Korea moves ahead with digital asset reform

Last year, Shinhan Group’s banking subsidiary performed a demonstration of a real-time international remittance via stablecoin with the Standard Bank of South Africa and the blockchain network Hedera Hashgraph.

Shinhan Bank has invested in KDAC (Korea Digital Asset Custody), which is an industry consortium that offers crypto custody services. The bank is also partnering with Korbit, one of South Korea’s Big 5 crypto exchanges, to offer users real-name deposit and withdrawal accounts for transparent transactions.

South Korea as a country is moving towards a more positive view of cryptocurrencies. It is currently developing a new crypto-regulatory framework called the Digital Asset Basic Act, which is expected to institutionalize cryptocurrencies and add a safer trading environment for investors.

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