South Korea’s Shinhan Bank Teams With Telecom Firm KT To Develop Blockchain Service

Announcements, Blockchain | August 8, 2018 By:

Shinhan Bank, one of South Korea’s largest commercial banks, has formed an alliance with KT Corporation, South Korea’s largest telephone company, to jointly develop a blockchain service.

Headquartered in Seoul, Shinhan Bank was the first bank in Korea, established under the name Hanseong Bank in 1897. The bank started as a small enterprise with a capital stock of KRW 25 billion ($22M USD), 279 employees, and three branches. Today, it has transformed itself into a large bank, boasting total assets of KRW 298.945 trillion ($260B USD), total deposits of KRW 221.047 trillion ($192B USD) and 13,400 employees. In November 2017, Shinhan began the development of its bitcoin wallet and vault system, and in February, the bank completed blockchain trials with Ripple Labs.

KT Corporation, formerly Korea Telecom, dominates the South Korea’s landline and broadband Internet market, serving about 90 percent of the country’s fixed-line subscribers and 45 percent of high-speed Internet users. Last month, the company launched a blockchain-based commercial network that claims to handle 2,500 transactions per second (TPS), with an aim of 10,000 TPS by the end of the year and 100,000 TPS by the end of 2019.

The two companies signed an agreement to develop a blockchain platform with the goal of leveraging local governments’ recent efforts to introduce digital vouchers, which can be used like cash in certain regions. KT will reportedly develop the platform and network infrastructure, while Shinhan takes charge of developing related financial services, such as payment and account systems, within the platform.

“Shinhan’s strategic partnership with KT is a part of our efforts to introduce a convergence between finance and ICT,” said Shinhan Bank Digital Strategy Department head Jang Hyeon-ki. “The blockchain technology will upgrade customers’ financial activities to a new level.”

“The partnership with Shinhan Bank will be an opportunity to expand the boundaries of KT’s blockchain technology into the financial sector,” KT Platform Service director Kim Hak-joon said. “KT will continue doing its best in contributing to the nation’s blockchain industry.”

Last month, the South Korean government announced that it was working on a classification system related to blockchain to help guide relevant regulatory policy. The system includes categories such as blockchain systems, decentralized applications (DApps) development, and cryptocurrency exchanges and transactions, among others.