The South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance has announced that the government will be investing KRW 5 trillion (USD 4.4 billion) into innovative industries in 2019, including blockchain technology.
The press release from 13 August, ‘Growth through Innovation Investment Plan’, reveals the rationale behind a KRW 2 trillion increase in investment from 2018 to 2019. Furthermore, the future plans to spend KRW 9-10 trillion over the next five years.
It writes, “The government decided to focus on two platforms, a digital platform for big data analytics and a supply chain for hydrogen fuel cells, and announced four projects, including an education project to develop qualified human capital needed.”
The developing education program intends to generate a qualified workforce of at least 10,000 strong over the next five years.
The big data facet of “platform economy” investment will focus on promoting big data, AI and developing blockchain technology. The government will financially support small business to utilize big data and push the “development of digital trade platforms for exporters”.
Headlines emerging from South Korea often point toward its relentlessly prudent planning for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). There is plenty of talk across the globe surrounding the technologies such as AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain, that are set to completely disrupt and advance the world we know, but none seem quite as proactively prepared as South Korea.
In recent months, the South Korean government has put out several notable blockchain related projects that give focus to blockchain technologies. A blockchain development program for the younger generations was recently announced, as were recommendations for a blockchain-based stock market, a blockchain-based proposal evaluation system and a bank-backed ID system that utilized blockchain are just the tip of the iceberg.
Most recently, the self-governing province of Jeju island in South Korea made proposals to turn the island into a blockchain and cryptocurrency development hub. The governor of the island has requested that the South Korean government form a specialist panel to strategize this initiative.
Special tax rules for “New-Growth Technologies” were also announced recently, this would be to incentivize the establishment of innovative startups across many technological fields including blockchain.
However, it had previously been reported that cryptocurrency exchanges would not be included within this new tax law. On 13 August, a press release from the South Korean government confirmed that this would be the case, writing:
“The Small and Medium Venture Business Department [of the MSS] has no intention to regulate cryptocurrency trading and disclosures (ICOs), but as problems such as speculation emerge, cryptocurrency exchanges are not a target for the government to encourage as a venture enterprise.”
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