Capital markets News

Korea’s largest bank KB, goes live with institutional digital asset custody KODA

digital asset custody

Today saw the launch of KODA, the institutional digital asset custody solution backed by Korea’s largest bank Kookmin Bank (KB), based on technology from blockchain developer Haechi Labs and in association with Hashed.

When the solution was first announced in November 2020, the target launch date was within a year, so it’s well ahead of schedule. The offering connects to selected over-the-counter (OTC) cryptocurrency exchanges.

While there are plans to expand to other digital assets, the custody solution currently supports three cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ethereum and KLAY, the token for the KLAYTN blockchain network. KLAYTN was created by Korea’s largest social network, Kakao and is preparing to support a possible central bank digital currency (CBDC). Apart from safeguarding keys, the future aim of KODA is to support staking services.

Other assets are planned for KODA during the first half of this year. It’s exploring nonfungible tokens (NFTs), including real estate, gold and art.

While not mentioned in the announcement, others active in the Korean sector, such as KLAYTN and Shinhan Bank, are exploring CBDC solutions.

Until now, Korea’s largest digital asset exchanges have not been able to deposit or withdraw Korean won from corporate accounts.

In addition to providing custody and connecting to OTC trading, KODA will perform anti money laundering procedures such as screening deposit and withdrawal addresses. The solution also includes legal, accounting and tax advice in partnership with professional services firms. It has plans for additional collaborations for digital asset insurance, settlement, fund management and lending.

Meanwhile, other institutions around the world are launching similar services. The world’s largest custodian bank BNY Mellon is planning to offer custody services later this year. Dutch bank ING has launched Pyctor, a decentralized digital asset solution for ‘safekeeping’ and post-trade in collaboration with several significant partners, including three of the top five global custodians, State Street, Citi and BNP Paribas Securities Services. Standard Chartered is launching its Zodia custody service. 

In terms of broader services, Spanish bank BBVA has a cryptocurrency service for its Swiss wealth clients and in Singapore, there’s the DBS Digital Exchange.