Shinhan Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in South Korea will begin a remittance service – backed by bitcoin – between Korea and China, starting next month.
The Korea-China corridor will soon see the bitcoin remittance service made possible through Hong Kong as an intermediary, a country where digital currency transactions are legally allowed, according to Korean news outlet Pulse.
Fundamentally, the remittance operation will see Shinhan Bank transfer value to a digital currency exchange in Hong Kong, which will then further the transaction by transferring the value, in bitcoins, to a Chinese exchange at which point the value is then converted to local Chinese currency.
The platform will be made possible with Shinhan Bank’s partnership with Seoul-based blockchain remittance startup Streami. The startup deems itself a ‘blockchain remittance middleware and infra provider’ for financial institutions and is targeting the Asian remittance market with the South Korea-China corridor as its first market foray. The startup raised $2 million in a seed funding round in December 2015, with Shinhan Bank as one of its most notable investors.
Seoul-based Shinhan has assets of over $250 billion in assets and has a presence in 19 countries around the world with over 8,500 employees across 700+ branches.
Welcoming Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology
South Korea has taken notable strides in investing in its Fintech economy, beyond its bitcoin-friendly stance. Perhaps most notably, the revelation of Shinhan’s bitcoin-backed remittance operation comes in the weeks following the South Korean government’s announcement to launch its own digital currency based on blockchain technology.
The South Korean government is also partnering Singapore’s central bank in a cooperation to push the Fintech envelope with a focus on big data and mobile payments. Earlier this year, the Korea Exchange (KRX), South Korea’s securities exchange announced that it was already taking steps to develop a blockchain-powered trading platform that will help buyers and sellers trade securities directly without the need for an intermediary.
As a sign of the increased interest surrounding bitcoin and blockchain technology, New York-based digital currency exchange Gemini, expanded to South Korea earlier this week, enabling its citizens to buy, sell or trade bitcoin and Ethereum through its exchange.
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