Top five South Korean financial conglomerate Hana Financial Group has announced a partnership between its KEB Hana Bank and crypto custodian BitGo for late 2024.

According to reporting by Forkast, both companies made a joint statement late Tuesday at the Korean Blockchain Week currently underway in Seoul.

"We expect to contribute to raising trust and consumer protection on the domestic digital asset market by promoting the digital asset custody sector with our global partners," a Hana Bank source told local media outlets.

Hana Financial Group acquired Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) in 2012, merging to create KEB Hana Bank in 2015. The institutions reportedly earned $2.4 billion (3.16 trillion korean won) in profit in 2022. KEB Hana Bank has past form with the crypto and Web3 space; in July 2022, it opened a branch in metaverse platform The Sandbox.

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This private sector partnership seemingly responds to South Korea’s tech-savvy population, among which crypto has been making waves.

South Korea and crypto

According to a recent survey published by Consensys and YouGov, South Koreans rank among the highest in the world for crypto-awareness, with 63% of the population responding they know what digital assets are.

The alliance is also in line with South Korea’s moves to reign in the cryptocurrency space, and attract established industry players, such as BitGo.

The country has passed a number of new rules and regulations, the latest of which enforces a mandatory reserve fund of 3 billion won (or roughly $2.3 million). It also announced the creation of a virtual crime unit aiming to tackle an alleged surge in crypto crime in the country.

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A veteran in the crypto custody space, BitGo recently completed a $100 million Series C funding round, and is reportedly opening an office in South Korea also in late 2024.

“The partnership is expected to be an important turning point in raising the standards of the domestic digital asset market to a global level and encouraging institutional participation in the market,” said a joint press release from Hana and BitGo.

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