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Jeju Island to become ICO hub for South Korea

Won Hee-ryong

South Korea’s Jeju Island is attempting to become a free zone for Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). This will allow the island to become a special zone for the development of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology despite the country’s tough stance on the issue.

The governor of the self-governing province, Won Hee-ryong, made this proposal during his meeting, last week with high-ranking government officials and policymakers, including Kim Dong-yeon, Korea’s finance minister and deputy prime minister for the economy. He plans to make Jeju Island a blockchain hub wherein crypto projects that are focused on innovation will have the freedom to host ICOs as the means to finance business. He encouraged the partnership between the central government, private experts and the provincial government of Jeju Island to form a consortium of specialists to research how to put Jeju at the center of South Korea’s blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.

The changes in the regulations reflect his desire to develop Jeju as “Jeju Free International City” and assist the national government to put ease in the deregulation of cryptocurrency. Won’s goal is “for Korea to become a leader rather than a consumer of this new global industry”.

According to Yonhap News Agency yesterday: “A total of 5 trillion won (US$4.4 billion) will be spent to nurture eight critical sectors, such as autonomous driving and smart factories, with focus placed on blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence.”

Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon stated that there will be a growth in the government’s investment in evolving technology to 10 trillion won within the next five years. The ministry said the government will launch a 2.6 trillion won investment fund for startups this year, the first portion of a proposed 10 trillion won investment fund that is to be created by 2020. “The measures will help facilitate the platform economy, which in turn will help speed up innovative growth”.

Deregulation of cryptocurrency and the creation of a crypto hub in South Korea have been discussed in the previous months. A bill to legalize ICOs in the country was proposed by 11 lawmakers in May,2018. In June, it was reported that Korea’s Financial Convergence Association declared their project to build a blockchain campus similar to Crypto Valley of Zug in Switzerland.

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