Capital markets News

Hana backed Busan Digital Asset Exchange incorporates. Focuses on RWA tokenization

busan city

The City of Busan, South Korea’s second largest, has long planned to launch a digital asset exchange. It flirted with numerous cryptocurrency exchanges until this February, when it finally settled on the BDX Consortium to operate the exchange for tokenized real world assets (RWA) but not crypto. Earlier this month the 11 founders injected 10 billion won ($7.4 million), triggering a six month clock until the launch of the exchange.

The biggest names in the BDX Consortium are Hana Bank and Hana Securities. However, the group is led by ITcen, a listed IT consultancy that also operates a gold digital asset exchange, Korda. Other backers include Main Street Ventures, NHN Cloud, Barunson, Ocon, Optimus Block Korea, and Withers Partners Korea.

February’s announcement outlined the range of eligible assets, including gold, silver and other precious metals, commodities, intellectual property rights and carbon emission rights. Additionally it will include real estate, infrastructure and other assets such as ships. The latter links to Busan being Korea’s main port.

Local news reports this month said digital stocks and bonds are eligible for trading, but this was not mentioned in the February announcement. Late last year, press reports raised concerns about tokenized stocks and bonds being excluded. Hence, it appears tokenized financial instruments are a new addition.

The BDX CEO Sangmin Kim said, “The Busan Digital Asset Exchange will become a global leader in RWA real asset trading and a reference point for new investment and trading methods.” One distinction with Korea is its focus on retail investors. In contrast, some other jurisdictions often target accredited investors and institutions.

Korea’s Financial News compared the BDX to Japan’s Osaka Digital Exchange (ODX), which went live with its START exchange for digital securities last Christmas Day.

Meanwhile, several South Korean banks and security firms are planning to launch their own tokenization platforms or have formed alliances. Hana Securities plans to launch its solution later this year. And most of the country’s biggest banks have formed security token alliances.