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South Korean Hana Bank enters crypto custody business with BitGo

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One of the largest South Korean banks, Korea Exchange Bank (KEB Hana Bank), is moving to offer digital asset custody services through a new partnership with major cryptocurrency custody firm BitGo Trust Company.

KEB Hana Bank has signed a strategic business agreement with BitGo to jointly establish digital asset custody in South Korea, the local news agency Yonhap reported. The commercial bank has a network of 111 branches with local banking assets of nearly $10 billion and equity of $490 million.

Hana Bank representatives reportedly announced the news on Sept. 5 at the cryptocurrency industry conference “Korea Blockchain Week.”

As part of the collaboration, the parties will establish a joint venture featuring BitGo’s custody solutions and Hana Bank’s financial service and compliance expertise.

“By promoting digital asset custody business together with global partners, we expect to contribute to strengthening trust in the domestic digital asset market and consumer protection,” a Hana Bank executive reportedly said.

BitGo CEO Mike Belshe noted that the firm will focus on its capabilities of enhancing transparency and security of the South Korean digital asset industry.

Hana Bank and BitGo plan to launch their joint cryptocurrency custody venture in the second half of 2024, according to online reports.

Related: BitGo raises $100M after losing lawsuit against Galaxy

Hana Bank has recently expressed interest in tokenized deposit technology as an alternative to private stablecoins and central bank digital currencies.

In July 2023, the bank issued a report alongside local private banks like Woori Bank and Maeli Business News Korea, describing the so-called “certificate of deposit” tokens that could potentially replace customary notes and deposits without disrupting the traditional banking system.