The National Assembly of South Korea held a session recently where committees and political parties discussed the future of the blockchain industry, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the fascinating Jeju Island proposal for a blockchain hub.
Committing to blockchain
So far in 2018, South Korea, an extremely tech-savvy nation, has undergone radical shifts as it begins to build legal and regulatory frameworks for a number of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain.
Blockchain has, however, been a significant point of contention as the nascent technology itself poses many challenges to traditional financial institutions, especially with regards to ICOs and cryptocurrencies.
Additionally, blockchain is touted to be a technology that underpins the rest of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies, an era in which South Korea is pre-empting at governmental and industrial levels.
Initial coin offerings
At the “extraordinary” session, as reported by an article from Business Korea, the National Assembly was attended by government ministries which included the Ministry of Science and ICT who had previously been called upon by lawmakers from two other political parties to prepare ICO guidelines for investor protections.
According to Business Korea, the ministry will be going to produce a report on how prepared South Korean crypto-exchanges are against cybersecurity threats. This is an issue that has been pressed by the head of the virtual currency response team at the Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC).
South Korea had banned ICOs outright in 2017, though since May, the National Assembly has desired to create new guidelines in order to safely facilitate the crowdfunding method for domestic investors.
Business Korea quoted an “industry insider” who said, “The South Korean government prohibited all types of ICO in September last year and has come up with no related policy since then… The entire industry is paying much attention to how its stance will change through various discussions in the National Assembly.”
Following sessions at the National Assembly have Jeju Island on the agenda, which made recent headlines to some fanfare as it echoes the successes of Malta.
Recently, the governor of South Korea’s largest and most popular tourist island made proposals to turn Jeju Island into a crypto-haven, creating a national hub for the development of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.
Jeju Island’s governor Won Hee-ryong was quoted as saying, “Entrepreneurs looking to innovate should be allowed to raise funds through cryptocurrency.”
A few recent developments in South Korea have most likely catalyzed these conversations towards something of value for the industry.
Blockchain technologies were recently included in a USD 4.4 billion innovation funding plan that will roll out over the next five years or so. Furthermore, the timely establishment of the Blockchain Law Society could soon prove to be an effective entity in these discussions at the National Assembly.
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