By Landon Manning
Several concurrent developments in South Korea suggests that the country is building major interest in blockchain technology.
On May 27, Shinhan Bank announced that it would be adopting a blockchain verification system for ease of use in the loan-registration process. Originally founded in 1897, Shinhan is Korea’s oldest bank and today remains one of the largest players in the South Korean financial industry.
Media sources report that the initial run of this blockchain verification system will be used to massively streamline the process of applying for loans. Although it is common practice for several types of loan applications to go through the process by accumulating relevant verification information into one digital package, there are many others that require a number of original legal documents to be sent directly to the bank in question.
The hope in turning to the power of distributed ledger technology is that the new blockchain-integrated digital package will be able to vouch for any credential the bank might ask for, conducting the whole transaction without paper. By circumventing the use of original documents with a trustless ledger that cannot be forged, Shinhan Bank could cut costs and approval time dramatically while keeping a high standard of proof for loan issuance.
In a simultaneous development for South Korea, there has been a major upswing in the market’s appetite for bitcoin. Trading information from Coinhills.com has revealed that the Korean won has taken position as the third most-used fiat currency for Bitcoin transactions.
Although still behind the Japanese yen, which is itself behind the U.S. dollar by a wide margin, the won has edged out over the euro. Considering that South Korea has 51 million inhabitants, and that the entire Eurozone has over 337 million, it appears that the Korean appetite for cryptocurrency is quite ravenous. The industry as a whole should keep an eye on more developments from South Korea, to see what advances the Korean blockchain space will make.