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Many large Korean banks have announced the termination of bitcoin exchange services in January 2018

South Korean banks are barred from directly participating in cryptocurrency-related activities after the "emergency" regulation of the South Korean government, which is further driving South Korean banks away from bitcoin. Shinhan Bank and Kookmin Bank have already announced that they are preparing to cease their point exchange service in January next year.

Major banks have been away from bitcoin

According to "Korea Business Information" reported that two large South Korean banks this week announced that they are discontinuing "credit card redemption bitcoin services." Shinhan Bank will stop serving on January 15, while Kookmin Bank will stop serving on January 22. The news media explained:

"The Kook Bank Bank Cards and the Shinhan Bank Bank Card Points redeem Bitcoin on Coinplug, their partner crypto currency exchange."

Bank reward system

Shinhan Bank's reward system, the New South Korean Fan Club, allows customers to collect and spend points earned by their Shinhan Bank credit cards. These credits are available when these credit cards are purchased at seven Shinhan Bank affiliates: Shinhan Bank, Shinhan Card, Shinhan Financial Investments, Shinsei Life Insurance, Shinhan Capital, Jeju Bank and Shinhan Savings Bank.

Kookmin Bank also has a similar system. Its service, called Liiv Mate, allows customers to collect and spend points on bank credit cards. 
Points are earned when customers use the bank's credit card with Kookmin Bank, Korea National Insurance, Korea National Card, Kookmin Bank Investment and Securities Corporation, Korea National Life Insurance, Kookmin Bank, and Korea National Savings Bank. "South Korea Times" pointed out:

"Customers can trade points in these seven companies to earn points, which can then be used for points-of-purchase in stores linked to Kookmin Bank cards as if using cash."
Both banks have partnered with Coinplug, the cryptocurrency exchange, to allow their credit card points to be redeemed for bitcoin.

Regulate the removal of South Korean banks from the cryptocurrency sector

When the South Korean government announced an emergency measure to join the currency regulatory authorities earlier this month, YKK quoted Cui Hongzhi, chief of the South Korean financial regulators as saying:

"We will prohibit financial institutions from directly entering or trading in the virtual money market."
Since Cui Hongzhi said the government intends to forbid financial services companies to deal directly with or open stores in the cryptocurrency market, major banks have stopped encrypting currency-related products one by one.

As previously reported, most major banks have stopped issuing virtual bank accounts to cryptocurrencies. Trading cryptocurrencies in Korea requires a virtual account.

In September, a service that allowed the use of credit cards to purchase cryptocurrencies at Bithumb, the country's premier cryptocurrency exchange, was de-listed two months after it went live. The country's financial regulator said at the time that criminals could use the service through credit cards that were illegally acquired.