Category Archives: Jeju Island

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South Korea’s Largest VC Firm Invests in Supply Chain Blockchain

The largest venture capital (VC) firm in South Korea has formally announced that is has made an investment in TEMCO, a blockchain solution company for supply chain management built on the EOS network.

Investment opportunity

Korea Investment Partners (KIP) of Seoul has investments in over 50 companies, 20 private equity funds and a significant roster of partners all over the world. Its investment into TEMCO is of undisclosed value although according to a press release, it claims to be the first initial coin offering (ICO) funded by “major venture capital”.

This is not the first time that KIP has invested in blockchain-related companies such as Bithumb, Kakao, and Korbit, as well as other companies such as Naver who have been pursuing blockchain technologies in South Korea.

TEMCO’s supply chain project has been receiving support from other institutional investors such as RSK Bitcoin Smart Contracts, TLDR Capital and global blockchain accelerator Blockchaini, among others.

The announcement is indicative of a growing demand within South Korean markets to utilize blockchain solutions and products, going beyond the early trends of cryptocurrency exchanges that had previously held market dominance among investors.

Blockchain markets

Throughout 2018, South Korea has wrestled tirelessly to establish regulations and laws for ICOs, taxation, cryptocurrency classification and other vital facets of the industry. However, in the past month or so, there has been a significant progress with governmental support for new start-ups with blockchain being included in significant rounds of funding for public services.

Recent reports reflect the growing demand for blockchain 3.0 technologies from several of South Koreas largest companies. Naver and Kakao who are part of KIPs investment portfolio have begun unveiling their latest ambitions in blockchain.

Naver, the nation’s largest internet content service company has produced a multi-media payments and compensation service platform, and Kakao is soon to unveil Clayton, a project developed by its Ground X subsidiary.

2019 outcomes

Further progressions could be made should the Jeju Island special zone proposal come to fruition in the near future. The already self-governing island is seeking permissions to allow for the currently banned fundraising method of ICOs to be conducted on the island, and furthermore, become something similar to that of Malta, a blockchain island and hub for industry innovation.

For South Korea, blockchain technologies are becoming a regular part of political, social and industry discourse. 2019 is set to see public sector blockchain pilots double, in addition to this, unprecedented levels of funding for blockchain as well as other innovative technologies will also further catalyze South Korea’s world-leading efforts to adopt blockchain into its mainstream.

 

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Jeju Island Continues Push for Blockchain, ICO Special Zone

The proposal to establish Jeju Island as a blockchain and initial coin offering (ICO) hub in South Korea continues as the island’s governor pushes the concept during a governmental meeting.

Job creation

Echoing the ambitions of Malta, South Korea’s self-governing region of Jeju Island is making a bid to become a blockchain-centric special zone, especially with regards to allowing ICOs which are currently banned, to be allowed to operate there.

In a recent meeting hosted by provincial governors that saw the attendance of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the governor of Jeju Island Won Hee-ryong further clarified his stance and plans for the proposal.

The meeting was held in the context of job creation in the country, which is presently an important matter considering the recent announcement of the USD 4.4 billion ‘Growth through Innovation Investment Plan’ that revolves around disruptive technologies including blockchain.

With this in mind, Governor Won believes that the Jeju Island special zone would create around 1,600 jobs. He added that if the proposal is accepted, both domestic and foreign companies would be attracted to do business there, particularly those who are based in countries where ICOs are banned outright.

The Maltese effect

Malta is a prime example of a smaller-scale nation successfully creating a blockchain friendly space with an extremely proactive approach to accommodating startups and larger enterprises in the industry.

The transformation of Malta into a blockchain hub has seen the rapid advancement of regulatory frameworks, innovations, and other occurrences that bolster the significance of blockchain technology entirely.

Won said: “If Jeju Island is designated as a blockchain special zone, international standards and regulations on cryptocurrency should be created to ensure that blockchain and crypto companies that are promoting sound businesses both domestically and abroad can conduct businesses in the province.”

Discussions

Won revealed the Jeju Island proposal in mid-August and believes that South Korea could quickly become a consumer as opposed to a leader in the industry if the government continues to mull the legalization of ICOs and operations of blockchain and cryptocurrency firms.

Political parties, committees and government ministries recently attended the South Korean National Assembly in a meeting that discussed the future of blockchain technology, which included the legalization of ICOs.

It appears as though there is plenty of progress occurring. On Wednesday, 29 August, Jung Byung-kuka, a “lawmaker of the Future Party, and Block Chain Center (Ohkim’s Law Office)”, co-sponsored an industry meeting with lawyers and regulators in attendance to discuss the future of ICO guidelines.

Furthermore, district judges, lawyers and cryptocurrency experts banded together and formed a Blockchain Law Society to examine, research and study regulatory frameworks for the space. This pushes for clear legislation that would allow for all aspects of the nascent tech to operate to their fullest capacity.

 

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ICOs and Blockchain Island Hub Discussed at South Korea’s National Assembly

The National Assembly of South Korea held a session recently where committees and political parties discussed the future of the blockchain industry, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the fascinating Jeju Island proposal for a blockchain hub.

Committing to blockchain

So far in 2018, South Korea, an extremely tech-savvy nation, has undergone radical shifts as it begins to build legal and regulatory frameworks for a number of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain.

Blockchain has, however, been a significant point of contention as the nascent technology itself poses many challenges to traditional financial institutions, especially with regards to ICOs and cryptocurrencies.

Additionally, blockchain is touted to be a technology that underpins the rest of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies, an era in which South Korea is pre-empting at governmental and industrial levels.

Initial coin offerings

At the “extraordinary” session, as reported by an article from Business Korea, the National Assembly was attended by government ministries which included the Ministry of Science and ICT who had previously been called upon by lawmakers from two other political parties to prepare ICO guidelines for investor protections.

According to Business Korea, the ministry will be going to produce a report on how prepared South Korean crypto-exchanges are against cybersecurity threats. This is an issue that has been pressed by the head of the virtual currency response team at the Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC).

South Korea had banned ICOs outright in 2017, though since May, the National Assembly has desired to create new guidelines in order to safely facilitate the crowdfunding method for domestic investors.

Business Korea quoted an “industry insider” who said, “The South Korean government prohibited all types of ICO in September last year and has come up with no related policy since then… The entire industry is paying much attention to how its stance will change through various discussions in the National Assembly.”

Jeju Island

Following sessions at the National Assembly have Jeju Island on the agenda, which made recent headlines to some fanfare as it echoes the successes of Malta.

Recently, the governor of South Korea’s largest and most popular tourist island made proposals to turn Jeju Island into a crypto-haven, creating a national hub for the development of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

Jeju Island’s governor Won Hee-ryong was quoted as saying, “Entrepreneurs looking to innovate should be allowed to raise funds through cryptocurrency.”

Developments

A few recent developments in South Korea have most likely catalyzed these conversations towards something of value for the industry.

Blockchain technologies were recently included in a USD 4.4 billion innovation funding plan that will roll out over the next five years or so. Furthermore, the timely establishment of the Blockchain Law Society could soon prove to be an effective entity in these discussions at the National Assembly.

 

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