South Korea's Shinhan Card Develops Blockchain Payments Network

Neil Dennis

South Korea's biggest credit card operator, Shinhan Card, announced on Monday it had been granted a domestic patent and was developing a blockchain-powered payments system.

Shinhan Financial Group, an affiliate of the card company, said it had developed the world's first blockchain service that offers full credit card functionality such as setting spending limits, making monthly installments and paying merchants.

Reported in the Korea Times, a spokesperson for the company said:

Services using those key functions of credit cards will be extended to the blockchain-based system, a notable advancement from the status quo whereby most of the blockchain-based services available are limited to cash wiring or user identification for online transactions.

Patent Submission

The patent, filed with the Korea Intellectual Property Rights Information Service (KIPRIS), describes a system for building a blockchain "including a virtual currency generated according to a credit limit of a consumer". Blocks will be updated on the blockchain according to payment details.

This means the company will be able to develop a cardless method of transaction allowing customers to pay for goods using an app on their mobile phones.

Shinhan's spokesperson added:

We obtained the patent about a year and a half after we initiated a feasibility study including technology reviews. We are seeking measures to make the patent valid in European countries, the US, Japan, China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Shinhan Bank Blockchain Ambitions

Affiliate Shinhan Bank has already made progess on blockchain technology, using a distributed ledger platform to speed up the approval process for loans and mortgages.

Instead of submitting identity, payslips and other important documents for manual verification, the bank will use blockchain to verify such items. Last year the bank trialled a cross-border remittances system for its business customers using Ripple's blockchain.

Eliminate the Middlemen

Shinhan Card believes that by using blockchain technology in its payments system it will eventually eliminate the need for other financial intermediaries in the transaction process.

Credit card companies operate with two other counterparties in transactions: a value-added network (VAN), which acts as intermediary between card company and vendors to verify and approve transactions, and a payment gate (PG), a financial services provider which makes the physical payment.

Speaking to the Korea Times, Shinhan Card's spokesman concluded:

We, as the industry leader, will continue to explore ways to implement business models in accordance with the regulations.

Roger Ver Shows Interest in Buying Satoshi Nakamoto's Original Bitcoin Website

Bitcoin.com founder Roger Ver has shown interest in buying the Bitcoin.org website, which was originally registered by Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and developer Martii Malmi.

As CryptoGlobe reported, on a GitHub post Cobra Bitcoin, the pseudonymous co-owner of Bitcoin.org, has announced he will be gradually reducing his involvement with the website and leave it “in trusted hands.”

In his original post Cobra noted he had some people in mind, but asked for individuals or organizations that could be a good fit to maintain the website, which is currently being used to onboard new users into the flagship cryptocurrency and ranks highly for the term “bitcoin” on search engines.

Cobra has been widely criticized in the cryptocurrency community proposing changes to Satoshi Nakamoto’s original Bitcoin whitepaper, and has seen mixed reactions to his announcement of reducing his involvement in the website. On Reddit, one user asked whether he would sell the website to Roger Ver.

Roger, taking advantage of the opportunity, responded via his MemoryDealers handle to say he has “cash in hand,” showing interest in acquiring the domain. Ver is well-known for running Bitcoin.com and campaign in favor of bigger blocks on the Bitcoin blockchain. In August 2017, he moved his support to Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Speaking to CoinTelegraph, Ver noted he would “gladly buy” the Bitcoin.org website, but does not expect Cobra to sell it to him. He added he hasn’t made any efforts outside of that comment to buy the domain. As to who would be best suited to take over Bitcoin.org, he said:

Maybe a Bitcoin Foundation-like organization that is made up of the businesses building on crypto. The [Electronic Frontier Foundation] EFF might not be bad either. Anyone who supports free expression of ideas would be better than the current group.

When asked what he would use the domain for, he said it would be used to promote “peer-to-peer electronic cash systems.” Ver asserted, however, he hasn’t put much thought into it as he doesn’t expect to be given a chance to buy the website.

Featured image via Bitcoin.org.