The price of bitcoin hit a new record high overnight, passing US$9,000 for the first time on Nov. 26 and surging past US$9,500 just hours later.
At 3:45 p.m. on Nov. 27 (Hong Kong time), bitcoin was trading at US$9,681, up 3.8 percent in 24 hours, or 20 percent over the last seven days.
As South Korea’s Naver News reports, Shinhan, the second largest commercial bank in the country, is testing a bitcoin vault and wallet service for its customers, which is expected to be launched by mid-2018.
In response to recent hacking attacks of leading South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges including Bithumb, Shinhan is “testing a virtual bitcoin vault platform wherein the private keys of bitcoin addresses and wallets are managed and issued by the bank. The bank intends to provide the vault service for free and charge a fee for withdrawals,” a Shinhan representative told Naver News.
The bank reported a total of US$192 billion in assets and over 13,000 employees in 2016, according to media News Bitcoin.
South Korea has been a hub for cryptocurrency for established digital currencies. Earlier in November, the country’s chief financial supervisory official, Choe Heung-sik, said that the government “doesn’t have plans right now to directly supervise exchanges. Supervision will come only after the legal recognition of digital tokens as a legitimate currency”.
As of Nov. 26, US dollar-bitcoin trading volume accounted for 24 percent of total trading in the cryptocurrency, according to CryptoCompare. The Japanese yen had the largest share at 59 percent, while the South Korean won came in third at 10 percent, according to the website.
The price surge also comes after one of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges, Coinbase, announced on Friday that about 100,000 accounts had been added between last Wednesday and Friday – just around Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday in the US – bringing the number of users on its platform to 13.1 million, up 167 percent from 4.9 million last November.
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