Woori Financial Group has become the latest major South Korean financial institution to launch cryptocurrency custody services.
According to the Korea Economic Daily , Woori has partnered with local blockchain company Coinplug to create a joint venture to hold cryptocurrencies.
The new service, called D-Custody, will be integrated in the coming weeks, with Coinplug being its largest shareholder.
According to data from Statista , Woori Bank is South Korea’s fourth-largest bank in fiscal 2020, with more than 358 trillion won (more than $311 billion) under management.
According to an additional report by CoinDesk Korea , the new service, D-Custody, will allow customers to securely store cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as store non-fungible tokens (NFT).
The company has hinted that its clients will get an opportunity to invest in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) products.
Wori Bank confirmed that since South Korean banks are not allowed to provide crypto-related services directly, their only option to enter the crypto market is through a joint venture with a company already in the field (talking about Coinplug here).
A bank official told the aforementioned source:
Since Coinplug does not operate a trading or storage platform, we have decided that it can become a stable partner for us.
South Korean banks switch to cryptocurrency:
Wori Bank is the third South Korean commercial bank to enter the cryptocurrency custodian arena as the country prepares to introduce a regulatory framework for crypto exchanges in September this year.
In November 2020, Kookmin, the country’s largest financial institution, launched its cryptocurrency custody service, following in the footsteps of Nongyup Bank, which also set up a similar entity earlier in the same year.
Another local Korean bank, Shinhan, launched cryptocurrency custody services earlier this year, with the services to be available to users in early May 2021.