Shinhan Bank HQ, Seoul. Image source: Kaniwari, Wikimedia Commons

Shinhan Bank HQ, Seoul. Image source: Kaniwari, Wikimedia Commons

South Korea’s Shinhan Bank is launching a Bitcoin remittance service between Korea and China. The service will be available in December this year.

Hong Kong will act as an intermediary (as digital currency transactions are legally permitted there). Shinhan Bank will transfer value to a digital currently exchange in Hong Kong, which will convert it to bitcoin and further the transaction to a Chinese exchange, where the value will be converted to local currency.

This is a temporary solution as Bitcoin is not considered a legal tender in South Korea at present. The country’s authorities are looking to introduce the legislation for cryptocurrencies next year.

The platform is built by Shinhan Bank’s IT arm, Shinhan Data Systems, in partnership with local fintech start-up Streami, which specialises in blockchain remittance solutions. Shinhan Bank is also an investor in Streami – it participated in the start-up’s seed funding round in December 2015. Streami raised $2 million, of which around $425,000 was from Shinhan Bank.

Shinhan Financial Group is one of the largest financial services players in Korea. It has over 28 million customers, 13,400 employees and $260 billion in assets. The bank operates via 900+ domestic branches and outlets plus 140 branches across 19 countries worldwide.