The South Korean government will provide US$3.2 million in support to the country’s blockchain industry.

The Ministry of Science and ICT and National IT Industry Promotion Agency announced on March 16 an initiative to promote local blockchain companies and encourage industrial use of blockchain technology.

The money will be directed at small and mid-sized businesses and consortiums that develop new services that produce economic and social value using blockchain. Companies with ideas can submit them to the government, which is expected to select about nine for support.

Startups creating business models for AI, big data and IoT will also receive support.

The CoinTelegraph notes:

“The news comes at a critical moment for the development of the blockchain ecosystem in South Korea. Cointelegraph reported on March 5 that the country passed a law to introduce a permit system for cryptocurrency exchanges.

On February 18, CT also reported that the Bank of Korea was looking to deploy blockchain in bond market technology, which would allow the distribution of bond records among all participants.”

Also in the Korean blockchain space…

  • Is the South Korean Government Teaching Children How to Use Crypto?
    (By Tim Alper, Cryptonews, March 16)
    Co-developed by the Ministry of Education, the platform Yeep uses a digital currency — albeit one with no tradable value — to teach schoolchildren aged 16 and below how to develop business ideas, crowdfund and market products. Tim Alper writes, “And it is perhaps telling in a country where local stablecoins are commonplace, major industries are so heavily invested in blockchain technology-related business and where a new package of cryptocurrency regulations has recently been introduced – that “cryptocurrency”-fueled “crowdfunding” is something the government wants children to learn about.
  • Sales at Local Crypto Exchanges Nosedive Due to Sluggish Cryptocurrency Market (Korean)
    (Tokenpost, March 30)
    Sales at Bithumb and Upbit, South Korea’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, fell 70% in 2019 due to stagnation in the cryptocurrency market. And the situation is even worse with the smaller exchanges. Of South Korea’s 77 major exchanges, 27 had either shut down or had virtually no trading.
  • Shinhan Financial: Subsidiary CEOs to Directly Take Responsibility for Core Digital Technologies (Korean)
    (Lee Jong-hyeon, Chosun Ilbo, March 23)
    The Shinhan Financial Group has directed the CEOs of its subsidiaries to take direct responsibility for developing core digital technologies. Each subsidiary will specialize in one technology. The recently acquired Orange Life Insurance, for instance, will be tasked with developing blockchain. The goal is to help make the financial group’s “digital transformation” a success.