Korea’s largest blockchain conference, D.FINE, kicked off in Seoul on Monday.

The main event of Korea Blockchain Week 2019, the two-day D.FINE gathering brings together some of the world’s biggest names in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries. Five media companies running blockchain news sites are co-hosting the event itself noteworthy, given the intense competition of the Korean media market.

On the first day, Hashed CEO Simon Kim said blockchain could become a powerful tool to resolve problems involving sustainable development, environmental protection and ethnic conflict. In particular, he pointed to how blockchain could change creation in the virtual world, data use and politics and governance. 

Computer scientist Nick Szabo, the originator of the concept of smart contracts, discussed what a smart contract is and the changes they have brought, noting that smart contracts were bringing economic and legal innovation.

Investor Michael Novogratz of Galaxy Digital said the participation of big companies in the blockchain space would grow the market. In particular, he predicted that if companies with millions of users enter the space, it could completely change the market as the number of DApps and services grow. He also predicted that institutional investors would grow more important and that Asia could become a good test bed for real-life use of blockchain.

Vitalik Buterin, meanwhile, told reporters at the conference that Ethereum 2.0 was bringing users back to the platform. He also said he was paying attention to decentralized finance (De-Fi) DApps, praising in his lecture the De-Fi service MakerDAO. He pointed to projects such as Plasma that were improving the scalability of Ethereum, too.

Also in the Korea blockchain space…

(By TokenPost, Sept. 27)

A new company evaluating blockchain projects opened its doors on Sept. 25. Bringing in credit rating experts from one of Korea’s largest credit rating agencies, the company aims to objectively assess blockchain projects and provide accurate information in order to help establish a healthy blockchain ecosystem.

(By Tim Alper, CryptoNews, Sept. 27)

The Ministry of Science and ICT is teaming up with Korea’s three major mobile carriers to operate an app that will store digitized versions of drivers licenses on mobile phones. The Korean police have apparently signed off on it, too.

(By Julia Magas, CoinTelegraph, Sept. 30)

In CoinTelegraph, Jula Magas examines all the reasons why North Korea might want to develop its own cryptocurrency and what the country is doing at blockchain conferences. North Korea’s efforts may also reveal the limits of “blunt force” broad sanctions imposed by Washington.

(By Carlos Terenzi, UseTheBitcoin, Sept. 25)

Korea’s second-largest bank, Shinhan, has become a new Ripple customer, joining fellow Korean bank Woori, the nation’s fifth largest. Though Ripple is now a competitor to SWIFT and most of its partner banks are using its ledger, most of those institutions are not using the XRP digital asset.