Woori Bank is slated to issue the Webee Coin based on blockchain technology at the end of the year in a move to secure a dominant share of the digital currency market.
The bank’s plan has been drawing the keen attention of the financial industry, as it would be the first move by a bank to enter the digital money market while global banks have competed to issue the digital currency based on blockchain technology.
The digital currency will be the first South Korean version of Bitcoin. Woori Bank signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with blockchain technology firms Dayli Intelligence and The Loop on Aug. 16 to cooperate on developing blockchain and digital coins. Woori Bank plans to test the blockchain technology and test run it at its head office by the end of December. When the bank issues the WeBee Coin, customers who have received the WeBee Coin through cards or smartphone applications can use it as cash at affiliated branches. The WeBee Coin comes with a similar concept as store credits, however it is only digital.
As virtual money including Bitcoin and Ethereum appeared, Woori Bank plans to dominate the digital coin market in advance by integrating the blockchain technology with its “WeBee Money.” The WeBee Coin will operate via blockchain. However, it is different from other virtual money as it is distributed with electronic prepayment means. Banks will issue digital coins after making up for the shortcomings of Bitcoin and Ethereum that have high price volatility to allow customers to fully use the face value at banks’ affiliated stores.
Woori Bank will test operate the WeBee Coin at the head store and expand the use of the digital coin by partnering with its affiliated branches, universities and local governments. An official from Woori Bank said, “We are planning to issue the blockchain-based digital currency by the end of this year and test the charging system.”
Global banks have been toying with the idea of issuing digital coins among the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Riple, and Light coins, which have been emerging in the digital currency markets around the world, and Woori Bank plans to mesh its Webee Money with the blockchain technology to come up with Webee Coin to take a dominant share of the digital currency market beating its rival banks to the punch. Webee Coin is based on the same blockchain technology as bitcoin, but it is used as means of electronic prepayment, differing from other digital currencies. It can be charged as then used at affiliated stores like the T Money to pay for something or make money transfers.
Woori Bank officials said Bitcoin doesn’t require a membership, but Webee Coin would be restricted to Woori Bank’s affiliated stores for members only. Woori Bank will experiment with the use of Webee Coin on employees near the end of the year. They will be abel to use it at affiliated stores by making payments at automated sales machines. If the experiment is successful, the colleges will be added on the list places for use, and local autonomous entities may be added later.
The price of bitcoin made another run at a record high on Friday as the cryptocurrency bounced back from correction territory.
The price of one bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.68% rose 2.4% to $4,466.78 in late August, after touching an intraday high of $4,496.29. On Aug. 17, the cryptocurrency had touched a record high of $4,510.78, and proceeded to drop below $3,800 on Tuesday, a more than 15% slide, before turning around.
Bitcoin now carries a market cap of $73.81 billion, and demand for graphics processing cards used to mine for bitcoins has far outstripped supply from companies like Nvidia Corp. NVDA, -0.84% and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.AMD, -0.56% On Thursday, The Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading of shares of First Bitcoin Capital Corp. BITCF, +4.68% which have jumped more than 6,0000% this year alone, because of concerns about the accuracy of information about the Canadian company.
Ether, the cryptocurrency running on the Etherium network, saw its price rise 2.7% to $334.61, still off its high of $388.49 set on June 15. Ether has a market capitalization of about $31.48 billion.
The market cap of all cyptocurrencies again passed above the $150 billion mark on Wednesday, and stood at $156.43 billion on Friday, according to Coinmarketcap.com. By means of comparison, the closest S&P 500 index company with a market cap of that size is Walt Disney Co.