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South Korea’s STO Market Poised for Exponential Growth, Banks Eager to Join

South Korea’s financial industry is excited as experts project the nation’s security token offerings (STO) market to reach a staggering $287 billion by 2030. Major banks in the country are eagerly lining up to participate, driven by recent government policy shifts and the potential for significant profits.

Unlocking the Potential of STOs :

According to the Hana Financial Group’s Management Research Institute, the domestic security token market is expected to nearly reach $ 27 billion next year. This projection has sparked optimism for rapid growth throughout the remainder of the decade. Responding to the government’s evolving stance, banks are actively preparing to seize the emerging opportunities presented by STOs.

Regulatory Reforms Fuel Market Expansion :

In early 2018, all forms of domestic coin issuance were banned. However, the government has since pledged to relax regulations, particularly for STO projects. Regulated financial firms will soon have the freedom to offer STO products. With the anticipated easing of restrictions, industry insiders predict that domestic financial companies will swiftly enter the market, fostering a vibrant ecosystem of STOs.

Nurturing STOs in a Regulatory Sandbox :

To test the waters, Seoul plans to establish a regulatory sandbox where select firms can issue and distribute tokenized securities under the supervision of the Financial Services Commission (FSC). While the sandbox provides a controlled environment, banks eagerly await a more definitive green light. In preparation, an STO alliance has been formed, led by prominent banks like Nonghyup (NH) Bank, Suhyup Bank, and Jeonbuk Bank.

Major Banks Join the STO Alliance :

The STO alliance gained considerable strength on June 15 when three of the largest banks in South Korea—the Industrial Bank of Korea, Shinhan Bank, and Woori Bank—joined its ranks. This development signifies the growing confidence and enthusiasm among financial institutions regarding the potential of STOs. Banks foresee a surge in tokenized projects encompassing real estate, artwork, and music copyright, with some entities already participating in the FSC’s sandbox.

Legislative Delays and Future Outlook :

While banks are eager to capitalize on the STO market, there may be a delay until 2025 before they can fully access it. Regulators have experienced setbacks in rolling out the relevant legislation, prompting concerns. An unnamed regulatory official confirmed that the submission of necessary legal amendments had been slightly delayed, indicating that STO legalization might only take effect at the end of next year at the earliest. Major banking groups like Shinhan and Kookmin are actively developing STO trading platforms.

South Korea’s financial landscape is primed for a transformation as the nation’s STO market prepares for exponential growth, attracting prominent banks and fostering innovation in tokenized assets.


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