Shinhan Bank, the second largest bank in South Korea, is reportedly working on its bitcoin “vault and wallet services.” In a first for the banking industry, Shinhan would become the first major bank to offer Bitcoin storage services direct. The bitcoin vault and wallet platform is expected by mid-2018.
A Shinhan executive confirmed the reports after the news broke on the social media. It was established that the new service would be more secure than outside services and the bank would not charge fee for deposit, but a minimal fee upon withdrawal.
Shinhan is in the testing phase for the functional product which will be designed for public release. According to a publication, the tool is the result of Shinhan being awarded a third-party contract. The bank will also build peripheral infrastructure to serve its virtual currency ecosystem, which includes mobile apps, statistics and analysis portals.
Last year, Shinhan Bank had become the first major financial institution in the region to utilize the bitcoin blockchain. The bank, worked together with Seoul-based blockchain remittance startup Streami, to start an overseas bitcoin remittance service between Korea and China through an intermediary country Hong Kong.
There is no clarity if Shinhan will offer bitcoin brokerage and trading services to enable their existing clients and customers to purchase or sell bitcoin. However, it is likely that the bank will partner with crypto currency exchanges within South Korea including Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit to provide liquidity to Shinhan’s user base.Korea has one of the largest bases of world’s biggest digital currency "Bitcoin" traders. The industry has witnessed turbulent time earlier in the year with Bithumb suffering a major hack. After the incident, the Korean government has repeatedly issued warnings about certain aspects of crypto currency, notably ICOs, on which it has imposed restrictions amounting to a de facto ban.