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South Korean Government Program to Empower Blockchain Startups with $3.2mn

March 24, 2020

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South Korean Government Program to Empower Blockchain Startups with $3.2mn

The South Korean government announced further investment enhancing domestic companies that utilize blockchain technology and/or are directly engaged in blockchain practices, worth of $3.2mn.

The funding was announced both by the S. Korean Ministry of Science and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and the Ministry of Information and Communication Industry Promotion through their respective channels.  

According to Decenter.kr, a S.Korean media outlet covering the matter, the latter ministry is about to launch a pilot program dubbed “Blockchain Technology Validation Support in 2020” which aims to strengthen startups that have chosen the blockchain path. 

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More specifically, the government plans to empower around ten different projects through a series of IPOs (initial public offerings), and up to $360k in funding will be allocated to each one.

While the criteria for applying for funding are not strict, the program has a list of factors in order to filter out money-grabbers. Performance status, the feasibility of future performance, technology verifications, solid business plans, and the number of new jobs to be created through each company will be taken under consideration, among other aspects. 

“We plan to support domestic specialized companies to rapidly grow and activate the ecosystem in the early stage of the blockchain market.” – Park Yoon-kyu, Minister of ICT said to K-Global.

From what’s publically available so far, it seems that the South Korean government is looking for companies that offer financial and/or tech services empowered by distributed ledger technology. At the same time, these companies must be able to create economic and social value.

In addition, the fund will be available to startups involved with the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Big Data, presumably as long as they’re keen on upscaling their operations to a blockchain-focused strategy.

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The official announcement made by the Ministry of Information and Communication Industry Promotion cited that the analogous program from last year generated five blockchain patents, nine copyright registrations, and two investment rounds. 

South Korea is not a newcomer when it comes to blockchain technology. In 2018, blockchain specialist was the most demanded job in the fintech-focused country, surpassing traditional banking positions. 

In October 2019, South Korea’s leading party in association with the government launched a series of negotiations in order to upscale the country’s national policy on blockchain technology. 

While countries like Russia are not ready to accept public cryptocurrencies as monetary assets subject to exchange markets, South Korea passed a new law earlier this month introducing a legal permit for cryptocurrency exchanges.