South Korea’s NH NongHyup Bank has announced a new consortium with a local law firm and a blockchain laboratory to jointly develop digital asset-based financial services.

According to the Korea Herald on June 10, the bank signed a memorandum of understanding with law firm Bae, Kim and Lee, and blockchain developer, Hexlant. The consortium intends to research and develop cryptocurrency exchanges.

Crypto exchanges permitted

The move follows the passing of a bill by the South Korean National Assembly in March, which focused on the introduction of a permit system for cryptocurrency exchanges.

To maintain a permit, exchanges will have to report their operations to the Financial Intelligence Unit after obtaining real name-confirmed accounts from commercial banks.

NH Bank sees this as an opportunity to enter and take a key position in the South Korea’s cryptocurrency sector, as senior vice president Jang Seung-hyun explained:

“Through the consortium, we will step up efforts to take a lead in the local cryptocurrency industry.”

A longtime blockchain fan

NH Bank has long taken an interest in the potential of blockchain technology, having joined the R3 Blockchain Consortium back in December 2017.

Earlier this year it implemented a blockchain-based mobile identification system developed by Samsung for its staff IDs.

However, this latest consortium marks the first direct intention to develop its own financial services in the space.