A slew of major South Korean securities companies – many of which may be affiliated with major commercial banks and business groups – could be set to launch crypto exchange platforms as early as next year.
Per Newspim, “seven large domestic securities companies” have already applied to financial regulators for “preliminary approval” – and hope to launch “virtual asset exchanges” in the “first half of next year.”
The names of the seven companies were not revealed. But one unnamed official from one of the securities companies was quoted as stating that “currently” the “discussions necessary for the establishment” of an exchange were “being finalized.”
The same news outlet explained that the companies’ “preliminary authorization” processes would likely be complete by the “end of this year” and that the companies also wanted to file their “corporate establishment applications” before 2022 is out.
Some of South Korea’s biggest securities players have already expressed their desire to enter the crypto space, and may potentially be among the seven.
One of these firms may be Mirae Asset Securities, one of the nation’s biggest securities and insurance players. The firm, Newspim noted, had launched its crypto business “at the group level,” and has already earmarked a subsidiary that it wants to head its crypto-related operations.
The firm is also reportedly hiring “research and development personnel” in a range of crypto-related fields, “including bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).”
Meanwhile, one of Mirae Asset’s biggest rivals, Samsung Securities, has “conducted a study on how to enter the blockchain-based security token business.”
The media outlet explained that the firm attempted to hire experts to help it develop and operate a designated security token trading platform and develop blockchain-based smart contracts, but struggled to find the talent it was looking for.
The banks Nonghyup and Kookmin, who both have crypto-related business arms and securities-related offerings, were also mentioned as firms that may be developing an interest in launching crypto exchange-related businesses.
Experts argue that the “entry of securities companies into the cryptoasset exchange business” is “in line with” President Yun Seok-yeol’s pro-business approach to crypto. The industry, experts agree, is expecting regulations to “ease” in the months ahead.
Multiple banks had hoped to move into the crypto space prior to a minor crackdown on the space in early 2018. Following these events, however, most shelved their plans. They may be tempted to revisit their past plans, however, should Yoon come good on his promises.
Earlier this month, Cryptonews.com reported that SK Securities, part of the multi-billion-dollar SK business group empire, had announced plans to launch a “digital asset custody business” in conjunction with a regional bank.
Also, this month, Hyundai Motor Securities (a Hyundai subsidiary) sealed a deal with the crypto exchange Bithumb, which will let users check on the status of their crypto holdings and access real-time market price data.
Domestic banks, such as the aforementioned Nonghyup and Kookmin – as well as their rival Shinhan – have already invested in or explored cryptoasset custody solutions, while the SK affiliate SK Square snapped up a 33.2% stake in the Korbit crypto exchange in January.
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