Bit­coin to be tested for dig­i­tal wal­lets at South Korean bank

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Foreign News -

HONG KONG: Bit­coin may be about to take an­other step to­ward main­stream ac­cep­tance as South Korea’s big­gest bank by as­sets pre­pares to em­brace the cryp­tocur­rency.

Shin­han Bank is in the process of se­lect­ing a com­pany to test a bit­coin vault and wal­let plat­forms. Sub­ject to the reg­u­la­tor’s ap­proval, the ser­vice is likely to be launched by mid2018, said an of­fi­cial at the lender who asked not to be named due to com­pany pol­icy.

The move comes as CME Group Inc and the Chicago Board Op­tions Ex­change look to es­tab­lish bit­coin fu­tures, and as the cryp­tocur­rency con­tin­ued to surge to­ward the US$10,000 mark.

Shin­han posted a bid in­vi­ta­tion on its web­site ear­lier this month. It plans to de­velop a test server for the vault ser­vice to store the cryp­tocur­rency safely, a mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion to use the ser­vice, and sta­tis­ti­cal and an­a­lyt­i­cal tools.

“Since there were some hack­ing cases, if we have this vault ser­vice in place, it will boost safety among in­vestors,” said Park Nok­sun, a Seoul-based an­a­lyst at NH In­vest­ment & Se­cu­ri­ties Co. Park said the plans for bit­coin fu­tures are driv­ing de­mand be­cause they could boost the cryp­tocur­rency’s sta­tus.

South Korea, Asia’s fourth big­gest econ­omy, is the world’s most In­ter­net-con­nected so­ci­ety. It has the high­est pro­por­tion of users at 94%, and is also num­ber one for smart­phone own­er­ship at 88%, ac­cord­ing to the Pew Re­search Cen­ter.

Prime Min­is­ter Lee Nak-yon said yes­ter­day that cryp­tocur­ren­cies are caus­ing spec­u­la­tion that can cre­ate a “patho­log­i­cal so­cial phe­nom­e­non”. This comes a day af­ter Fi­nance Min­is­ter Kim Dong-yeon said the gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing taxes on cryp­tocur­ren­cies.

Shin­han’s bit­coin plan was first re­ported in South Korea last week by lo­cal me­dia in­clud­ing Dig­i­tal Daily, and Park said the news may have con­trib­uted to the rally. Bit­coin touched a new record of US$9,887.33 yes­ter­day.

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