- A Finance Ministry task force named “metaverse” and “blockchain” as two of five “new industries” to receive priority support.
- The metaverse could be the internet’s next evolution, and it offers potentially endless opportunities for blockchain and crypto.
- Korean government interest in the metaverse stands to benefit Korean blockchain and crypto currencies, and maybe even prompt a change in official attitudes towards crypto.
- The government also wants to promote wider use of blockchain technology, including possibly DID.
The South Korean government thinks the “metaverse” will be a future cash cow.
TokenPost reports that Lee Eog-weon, the 1st Vice Minister of Economy and Finance, chaired on Friday a meeting of a pan-governmental task force launched in April to explore “new industries” in response to changing socio-economic conditions and technological developments.
Taking into consideration global market trends and socio-economic ripple effects, the task force selected five industries to cultivate: cloud technology, blockchain, smart robots, digital healthcare and the metaverse.
In the task force’s view, these industries have high growth potential and market demand and urgently require policy-level support.
The task force reportedly discussed strategies to strengthen the institutional framework to expand the metaverse, as well as ways to use the metaverse to “spread the frontiers of the Korean Wave.”
The Korean Wave refers to the growing global popularity of Korean pop culture, including Korean music, TV programming and film.
And interestingly, the Korea Tourism Organization — the national tourism board — is already pushing a project to use the popular Chinese metaverse-based game Audition to let users virtually visit Korea.
So, what is this “metaverse” about which we speak? Well, from Coindesk:
“The metaverse is a superset of virtual reality, augmented reality and the internet. Its tendencies exist in forms you may already be familiar with, such as in popular video games like Roblox, Fortnite and Animal Crossing. The term was first coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel ‘Snow Crash,’ where a pair of delivery drivers travel the metaverse to save themselves from a capitalist dystopia.
The metaverse that many futurists envision is similar to the ones portrayed in sci-fi stories like ‘Ready Player One.’ While no one knows for sure what the metaverse will look like, its basic characteristics are established – it spans physical and virtual worlds, is centered around a fully functioning economy, and allows users to travel through its different ‘places’ with relative ease, maintaining their purchased goods and avatars.
Like a virtual theme park with no limits to its size and creativity, users will be able to move seamlessly from place to place with thousands of other people, all within the same digital universe.”
The metaverse may offer boundless opportunities for blockchain, cryptocurrency and NFTs, too.
Venture capitalist Matthew Ball has posted the mother of all primers on the metaverse on his website, including this examination of “payments, payment rails and blockchains” in the metaverse. He writes:
“In totality, then, blockchain-based revenues offer major publishers not just the potential for greater revenues, but a system that is equivalently fair and impossible for a competitor to manipulate. It is hard to imagine a better on ramp to openness.
The most disruptive aspect of digitally-native ‘programmable’ payment rails, however, is how it enables greater independent collaboration and funding.”
As we’ve noted before, the metaverse has some regulatory hurdles to overcome before it can truly begin blossoming in Korea, particularly in regards to cryptocurrency and reporting duties.
Still, if the Ministry of Finance is taking a keen interest in the metaverse, it could encourage the government to more fully embrace crypto. At least in the long run.
It could also open up major opportunities for local blockchain projects, particularly ones that emphasize the interoperability the metaverse will need to thrive.
More Opportunities for DID?
As noted above, the pan-governmental task force also designated blockchain as an industry to cultivate.
The ministry will support the development of blockchain technology and craft plans to spread the technology into sectors where the public can actually experience it.
TokenPost noted that blockchain is currently employed as a key technology in ID certification, which suggests the government might promote the use of DID technology on a wider scale, something that would obviously benefit local DID developers.