Shinhan Securities Co., Ltd., a leading securities company in South Korea, is preparing to launch a digital asset rating service, according to local media outlet Digital Today, making it Shinhan’s latest effort to incorporate blockchain and crypto into its services.

The company has recently made new recruitments for its blockchain team, whose duties include supporting a digital asset rating business JV (joint venture), developing smart contracts and a crypto trading system and others such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse, Shinhan wrote on its job posting.

However, Shinhan says its crypto business is unlikely to launch anytime soon. “We do not have any specific business plans to promote anything [crypto] yet, we are studying and exploring the industry and the technology,” a Shinhan Securities PR team representative told Forkast.

This comes while South Korean laws limit local banks and financial institutions from pursuing businesses outside of traditional finance, and limit them to owning no more than 15% of a company that is in a non-finance sector.

See related article: South Korean banks seek green light on crypto

But Shinhan seems to be preparing for the day that South Korea eases these restrictions. 

The country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), announced in July this year that it is pushing for “bold reforms” to its financial regulations in line with the global movement of digital transformation. One of the topics up for discussion among the regulators is whether to allow financial firms to invest in cryptocurrencies or pursue crypto-related businesses.

Prior to the recent recruitment, Shinhan Securities has made proactive endeavors in branching out to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Over the summer, the securities company joined with blockchain-based fintech firm Delio to develop products and services based on blockchain technology. Earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with blockchain tech firm Superblock to help Shinhan internalize the technology needed to pursue digital asset businesses.

The banking subsidiary under Shinhan Financial Group, which gathered its largest amount of net profit as a financial firm in Q3, 2022, is also knee-deep in blockchain.

See related article: Scarred by Terra-LUNA, South Korea moves ahead with digital asset reform

Last year, Shinhan Group’s bank subsidiary performed a demonstration of a real-time international remittance via stablecoin with Standard Bank of South Africa and blockchain network Hedera Hashgraph.

Shinhan Bank has invested in KDAC (Korea Digital Asset Custody), which is an industry consortium that provides crypto custody services. The bank is also partnered with Korbit, one of South Korea’s big 5 crypto exchanges, in providing users real-name deposit and withdrawal accounts for transparent transactions.

South Korea as a country is moving toward a more positive view on cryptocurrencies. Currently, it is developing a new crypto regulatory framework called the Digital Asset Basic Act, which is expected to institutionalize cryptocurrencies and lay a more secure trading environment for investors.