Klaytn, the South Korean public blockchain network, has announced that one of Korea’s largest banks, Shinhan Bank, has joined its Governance Council. Existing Council members include Worldpay, LG Electronics, UnionBank and SK Telecom. Klaytn is a global public blockchain platform developed by Ground X, the blockchain affiliate of the South Korean social media giant, Kakao.
Shinhan’s responsibilities will include co-governance of the platform’s blockchain operation and the development of Klaytn-based digital services. It hopes these will foster growth within Korea’s domestic fintech ecosystem.
The question is, why now? Perhaps Shinhan’s participation is partly motivated by Korea’s ramping up of central bank digital currency (CBDC) efforts.
Recent activity from Shinhan and Klaytn would indeed suggest so. In March, Ledger Insights reported on the launch of Shinhan Bank’s demo CBDC platform together with LG CNS. The platform would allow local banks to act as intermediaries for a digital won. Recently, Klaytn has also announced a partnership with Ethereum developer ConsenSys to advance its CBDC interests.
Shinhan Bank has been involved in the use of distributed ledger technology since 2017, having built various services on Hyperledger Fabric, including policy loans, interest rate swaps and pension fund projects.
This April, Shinhan also joined the governing council of Hedera Hashgraph, the other big public permissioned DLT. The platform’s governing council is run by leading organizations including Google, IBM, LG Electronics, Tata Communications, and now Shinhan Bank.
Meanwhile, last month the Bank of Korea opened bidding for technology providers to launch and operate the country’s CBDC. The total budget for the project amounts to Won 49.6 billion ($44 million).