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APR 1, 2024

Bithumb and NH Bank renew their real-name account contract for just six months

by CoinNess Global

About three years ago, in March 2021, the South Korean financial regulators implemented the Specific Financial Transaction Information Act to ensure that local cryptocurrency exchanges provide safe and sound crypto trading services to investors. It was also a move to prevent exchanges and investors from engaging in illicit money laundering practices. 
However, the law has come across as a hassle to many crypto exchanges, as they were required to undergo verification processes to prove their reliability and to receive real-name accounts from banks. These accounts enable their users to trade crypto against the Korean won, helping exchanges stand out in the fiercely competitive crypto market amid surging Bitcoin prices.
At the moment, only five crypto exchanges in Korea are qualified to provide such services. Bithumb, one of these few qualified fiat-to-crypto exchanges, has renewed its real-name account contract with NH Nonghyup Bank (NH Bank) for six more months, according to local news media Yonhap News Agency

Various factors in play for relatively short renewal

Crypto insiders say that extending the contract for only six months appears to be quite a conservative move, as Bithumb has been making a year-long contract with NH Bank every year since 2018. Experts suggest various factors may have influenced Bithumb's decision, including the volatile crypto market, the Virtual Asset User Protection Act becoming effective in July and the exchange's planned initial public offering (IPO). 
Some say the relatively short renewal of the contract comes after a flurry of complaints from Bithumb users about the unfavorable user experience, including the cumbersome process they must go through to increase the deposit limit of their real-name accounts linked to Bithumb. This appeared to have prompted Bithumb to feel reluctant about the 6-year-long collaboration and seek a partnership with another bank such as KB Kookmin Bank or the online-only Kakao Bank, according to local media Bizwatch.
One bank official said that the relatively short renewal reflects Bithumb and NH Bank's commitment to addressing the inefficiencies of crypto transaction services, as the two companies plan to enhance their investor experience and marketing efforts over the next six months. 

Crypto boom drives partnership between exchanges and banks 

NH Bank appears to be persuading Bithumb to maintain their partnership, one bank official said, because providing real-name accounts to crypto exchanges not only benefits exchanges but also banks. Having young crypto investors – mostly in their 20s to 40s – open real-name accounts at banks is seen as a significant opportunity to expand their customer base.
One crypto insider said the ability to issue real-name accounts usually puts banks in a superior position when entering a partnership with crypto exchanges, but that doesn't seem to be the case in times like this when the crypto market is bullish more than ever. 
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