The South Korean government will be tripling investments into the development of blockchain technology as well as industries that include distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Korea Economic Daily has reported that a recent meeting held between a number of government entities has resulted in the rollout of an increased blockchain budget worth KRW 40 million (USD 35 million), which is triple that of 2018’s.
With DLT and blockchain technology at the center of the discussion, the Ministry of Science and ICT, Ministry of Information and Communication, the Democratic Party of Korea, as well as others were present to hear the announcement made by Vice Minister of Health and Welfare.
The Second Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science and ICT said that “everyone agrees that the blockchain is a technology to change the future… This is why we organized the budget for 40 billion won, and this year we will increase the number of projects to sixteen public areas including real estate transactions and personal clearance to 12 next year.”
Accordingly, the Ministry of Information and Communication will be providing technical, verification and consulting services for blockchain startups in 2019.
Infrastructure plus resources
Blockchain-related enterprises are garnering a great deal of attention in South Korea, recently its largest domestic venture capitalist (VC) firm stepped into space and invested in a supply chain solution powered by the EOS network. This is not a unique case; South Korean enterprises are clamoring to partner up with blockchain companies, bolstering positive industry perceptions of technology.
Outside of private entities, public sector blockchain projects are set to be doubled in 2019, backed by further pledges to support the industry from the Ministry of Science and ICT. Furthermore, the blockchain workforce is being propelled by educational courses and other funding initiatives to develop the next generation of experts in anticipation of a blockchain future.
However during the meeting, University of Kyunghee Professor, Han Ho-hyun was not entirely impressed with the budget that had been announced. He conceded that it was “difficult to secure KRW 40 billion by tripling next year”, and in comparison to other nations who are investing “tens of trillions”, the professor bullishly claimed that “we can invest more than KRW 100 trillion in three years.”
This was contested by the head of blockchain and convergence at the Informational and Communication Technology Promotion Center (IITP), who said, “If I invest USD 1 trillion in building a blockchain budget in IITP, you need to see if you need additional inputs.”
Initial coin offerings
South Korea is preparing its next phase of blockchain development as the ICO legal status decision nears its due date. In October, it was formally announced that the contentious issue of ICOs would be settled once and for all, which could prove to be a defining moment for domestic and global blockchain industries.
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