Korean-language blockchain media site Block Media recently took a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the local blockchain industry.
For starters, the need for social distancing has increased demand for remote, untact solutions for payments, meetings, education and banking. For example. Baemin Order — the untact food delivery and payment solution of South Korea’s popular Baemin delivery service — has experienced a 10-fold increase in sales just four months after launch.
This digitalization has blockchain companies smiling. People are getting used to untact services, something that bodes well for blockchain. Indeed, an ICONLOOP official told Block Media that the company was looking forward to launching MyID decentralized ID solution since interest has increased in untact services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has also given life to local currencies. Once considered almost useless, local currencies have taken on new significance with local governments — specifically, Gyeonggi Province — deciding to offer disaster relief in them, in part because local currencies allow the government to better tailor assistance by limiting its use to, say, small shops within the jurisdiction and for a limited time only.
Some localities issue local currencies based on blockchain, while others use non-blockchain solutions. Now we’ll be able to compare the two. If blockchain-based local currencies — such as those issued by the cities of Seongnam, Siheung and Gimpo — perform better, it could provide an opportunity to expand the use of blockchain.
Also in the Korean blockchain space…
(By Tim Alper, Cryptonews, Apr. 8)
Blockchain companies in areas of South Korea hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic will not be eligible for income and corporate tax support, much to their consternation. This is especially disappointing to the industry since one of the areas, North Gyeongsang Province, is a blockchain hotspot.
(Ledger Insights, Apr. 7)
The Bank of Korea’s position on CBDCs continues to evolve. South Korea’s central bank is now planning a 22-month pilot test of the stability of digital currency. The bank said the decision reflects changes in the stances of other major countries, including the U.S., Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada.
(By Trevor Smith, Bitcoinist, Apr. 10)
Huobi Korea has already delisted Monero and Bithumb is reportedly considering delisting it after allegations emerged that the privacy-centric crypto was used by a local sexual exploitation ring. Bithumb is the only major South Korean exchange still trading Monero; Upbit delisted it last year due to concerns over the crypto’s anonymity.