40 international and South Korean experts have banded together to form the Blockchain Special Committee that will establish a blockchain hub in South Korea’s North Gyeongsang Province, also known as Gyeongbuk.
As reported by local media outlet Daily News, members of the association will be tasked with deliberating and consulting on the creation of “mid-to-long-term strategies” that will foster the blockchain industry.
The committee is to be co-chaired by the vice governor of Jeonbuk Province and a member of the Korea Centre for Blockchain Research, Seongho Park. Among the ranks are 21 overseas members with notable figures such as Bitcoin Foundation Board of Directors member Brock Pierce and President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea Jeffrey Jones, joining others from Ripple and R-Chain.
The government of Gyeongbuk province had sent a “benchmarking team” to the world-famous crypto valley of Zug, Switzerland. Following the instructions as prescribed by Governor of Gyeongbuk Lee Cheol-Woo, the team has been building an international cooperation system and, finalized international business agreements with blockchain startup specialists from both Switzerland and Israel.
Cheol-woo said, “In order to nurture the block-chain industry, we will work with the special committee composed of domestic and international experts to preemptively respond and establish strategies… Through the integration and investment attraction of new start – I will make it as a future growth engine.”
Prior to this announcement, this region had already begun its blockchain journey with plans to implement a digital currency that will replace a state-backed loyalty scheme known as the “Hometown Love Gift Card”.
Dubbed Gyeongbuk Coin, the new token can be purchased on an exchange for South Korean won and spent at participating businesses. This will be done in partnership with Orbs, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform based in Israel that is touted as a third generation blockchain technology, something of which South Korean investors are keen to adopt.
The government will issue KRW 100 billion (USD 100 million) worth of Gyeongbuk Coin each year, which is the same amount allocated to the previous payment solution.
South Korea is firmly positioning itself as an active participant in the blockchain hype-cycle and has spent a great deal of 2018 developing public sector blockchain pilots, allocating significant funds to blockchain-related budgets, debating contentious cryptocurrency tax laws, among many other blockchain-related fascinations.
What may prove to be the most telling moment of all this year for South Korea is the impending decision to lift the ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs); with fears of domestic startups suffering under the ban and consumer/investor security at either side of the debate, the decision which is due this month could change the face South Korean blockchain enterprises for better or worse.
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