South Korea has given electronic documents the same legal status as paper ones, opening up a new market of KRW 600 billion or nearly USD 495 million.

This could be good news for ICONLOOP. And good news for ICX holders.

The Ministry of Science and ICT announced on Thursday that South Korea’s Cabinet passed earlier in the week revisions to the country’s law on electronic documents and transactions. Passed by the nation’s parliament last month to open the way for greater use of electronic documents, the revision will take effect six months from now on December 2.

By recognizing the legal validity of electronic documents, the revision has provided the grounds to do away with paper documents. If you store a scanned copy of a paper document at a publicly recognized e-document center, you don’t even have to keep the paper original anymore. The growing popularity of “contactless” services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has only hastened the transition to digitized documents.

The Ministry of Science and ICT predicts that the legal change will open a new market of KRW 600 billion for mobile billing statements, electronic receipts and other electronic documents. South Korea should also see significant cost saving as the country currently spends KRW 1.1 trillion in social economic costs for storing and transporting paper documents.

The Korean-language daily Kookmin Ilbo says South Korean ICT giants Naver, Kakao and KT are worthy of attention as active participants in the electronic document space.

Korean-language tech news outlet BeINews notes, however, that the legal change could provide more room to blockchain-based electronic document services, too.

The Ministry of Science last year launched a trial program to build a trust-based record management platform, while the Ministry of the Interior and Safety has operated since December a trial program that uses blockchain to issue citizen registration documents in electronic form. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety plans to expand that program to other subordinate organizations this year.

Private blockchain companies are jumping into the space, too.

One of those is ICONLOOP, which released in May of last year its blockchain-powered certification service Broof. Using the ICON public chain, Broof issues and stores tamper-proof diplomas and other certificates. Broof also allows issuing organizations to save on paper document issuing and storage costs without having to build a separate database.

Prestigious science and engineering university POSTECH is already using Broof, and ICONLOOP is working with top South Korean job portal site Saramin to allow job applicants to submit diplomas issued by Broof.

As we noted earlier, the improvement in South Korea’s electronic document legal environment isn’t just good for blockchain more generally and ICONLOOP more specifically. It could help holders of ICX, too. As the ICON Foundation’s Ricky Dodds explained to this publication early this year:

[Broof] currently uses the public blockchain. So for each broof issued, ICX is used for transaction fees. Transaction fees on the ICON Network are essentially burned, so it lowers the supply of ICX. The more Broofs issued through Broof, the more transaction fees on ICON. And the more transaction fees on ICON means more burned ICX. This could lead to a deflationary asset over time.”