South Korea’s ‘Bit-Island’ Jeju Announces New Blockchain Initiative

Local news outlet JejuDomin reported on Aug. 14 that Jeju announced the Blockchain Hub City Development Research Service on Aug. 13. Furthermore, the author of the report stated that cloud services provider Tilon will carry the research.

Per the report, the budget meant to cover the costs of the project amounts to 175 million won (nearly $145,000).

South Korea’s “Bit-Island” Jeju announced the Blockchain Hub City Development Research Service on Aug. 13.

An island with blockchain ambitions

In April local news outlet BusinessKorea reported that Busan – South Korea’s second most populous city – has been picked over Jeju as the preferred location for South Korea’s blockchain regulation-free zone.

The island that does not surrender

Jeju previously hoped to become the local initial coin offering (ICO) hub, after being granted the status of regulation-free zone. Still, the latest developments show that the island is still fighting for relevance in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.

As part of the project, parties involved will reportedly analyze and investigate advanced use cases for blockchain technology and derived services, and also develop a blockchain service model suitable for Jeju Island. Future strategy director of Jeju Island Noh Hee-seop commented on the development:

“We expect that this research service will contribute to the establishment of Jeju as a blockchain hub city that maximizes the potential of blockchain technology, the core technology of the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

After first banning ICOs in September 2017, South Korean state financial regulator the Financial Services Commission announced that it will not lift its ban on ICOs in the country at the end of January.

Busan looks to release local crypto

As Cointelegraph reported in July, Busan city authorities are seeking to develop a blockchain-based digital currency project in collaboration with BNK Busan Bank, a subsidiary of local holding company BNK Financial Group.

South Korea’s Central Bank Is Building a New Blockchain System for the Bond Market

The Bank of Korea (BOK) is looking at developing a new blockchain system for the Korean bond market, one of the largest such markets in Asia.Korean financial news site Yonhap Infomax confirmed Tuesday the Korean central bank was looking for a company that can build a new blockchain system that would improve record-keeping for the market.

Bond transactions could be recorded on the blockchain and could even form the basis for a “real-time simultaneous payment trading system,” a local official told Yonhap. The system would be designed to be shared between relevant financial institutions, as well as the BOK and the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), Korea’s financial watchdog.

The BOK is unlikely to launch a blockchain bond system until it has greater regulatory clarity on whether it would be ultimately responsible for any failure or accidents, the report reads.

The Korean bond market is one of the largest markets in Asia, according to financial data site Cbonds. The government regularly issues debt, which can be purchased by foreign investors. The country has rapidly become a regional leader with the advent of responsible bonds, such as green bonds, which saw issuances rise to more than $6 billion by June 2019, $2 billion ahead of China.

The BOK is said to have been inspired by the World Bank, which has raised a total of $108 million through two bond sales held on a private version of the ethereum blockchain, together with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

It’s uncertain whether the BOK’s proposed blockchain initiative would only be integrated with government-issued debt, or whether it could be expanded to include corporate debt as well. Similarly, it is unclear if the blockchain bond platform could be made to support a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The BOK established a task force dedicated to researching CBDCs at the end of last year.

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