South Korea’s four major cryptocurrency exchanges have reportedly entered discussions to renew their deals with banks to provide real-name virtual accounts.

Bithumb, Upbit, Coinone and Korbit have enjoyed deals with local banks to provide real-name accounts since the government mandated such accounts to counter cryptocurrency speculation in January 2018.

Renewing the six-month deals are of critical importance to the exchanges. Without the deals, the exchanges would be unable to conduct transactions in Korean won.

Luckily for three of the exchanges, the contract renewal discussions are reportedly going smoothly. Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit expect to renew their deals with NH Bank and Shinhan Bank without much of a problem.

Upbit is the question mark. That exchange had a rough 2019, including a US$51 million Ethereum hack in November. Within the industry, opinion is split whether IBK Bank will renew their deal. That the exchange had few problems over two years and secured so many clients in that time helps, but security issues at a time when revisions to the nation’s financial transactions law await passage in the parliament do not.

Upbit, for its part, is taking a wait and see approach.

And also in the Korea blockchain space…

  • South Korean Military Gets A Blockchain-based Upgrade
    (By Ricardo Martinez, Bitcoinist, Jan. 23)
    South Korea’s Military Manpower Administration has partnered with local cybersecurity firm Raonsecure to provide a blockchain-powered biometric ID and authentication solution. This is more evidence that decentralized ID (DID) could be the application that brings blockchain into the mainstream.
  • Korean blockchain game developer SuperTree receives $2.5M in Series A funding
    (Cryptoninjas, Jan. 22)
    Korean blockchain game developer SuperTree has received a total of KRW3 billion in Series A funding from venture capital fund Korea Investment Partners, the country’s largest venture capital, and SBI Investment Korea. SuperTree developed popular blockchain games CryptoDozer and DozerBird and is currently developing a game tournament platform and C2C market.
  • South Korean Bankers ‘Fear’ Starbucks Crypto Threat
    (By Tim Alper, Cryptonews, Jan. 21)
    South Korean banks are reportedly concerned that Starbucks — yes, Starbucks — presents a cryptocurrency threat. The coffee chain backs the U.S.-based cryptocurrency platform Bakkt and will apparently be the currency’s first launch partner this year.