At a time when many governments and jurisdictions struggle to figure out how to manage ICOs, reports have emerged that Won-Hee ryong, Governor of Jeju Island in Korea, has plans to turn the region into a hub for blockchain startups.
Won clearly understands what blockchain projects are about and proposed in a recent gathering of top Korean officials that “entrepreneurs looking to innovate, should be allowed to raise funds through cryptocurrency.”
This outlook on ICOs is remarkable because even the South Korean central government which the Jeju Island comes under has not displayed a favorable attitude toward cryptocurrencies or companies in the industry.
The central government has labeled ICOs as a “fundraising activity without permission,” thus hindering the growth of promising blockchain ideas that would have been hatched within the Korean blockchain ecosystem.
Regardless of this, Won will be counting on the fact that Jeju is a self-governing province and hope they will be excluded from the unjust treatment that blockchain-based ventures have to endure in the whole of South Korea. The “Jeju Free International City,” of his dreams will help develop the emerging industry by providing a warm atmosphere for the incubation of startups.
Korea has all to Gain and almost Nothing to Lose
“Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global internet platform” — Won.
By bringing up such a sensitive topic in a meeting which also had Korea’s finance minister and deputy prime minister for the economy, we can be sure that the provincial governor has something good in mind for the blockchain industry. Opening the eyes of top officials to all that the country could gain by coming up with necessary measures that allow ICOs to take place, could be the turning point for blockchain growth in the country.
For one thing, “If ICOs were allowed in the country, it would prevent the outflow of capital from Korea.” A significant number of blockchain startups have moved from Korea to other favorable locations such as Malta, Singapore, and Switzerland to establish their venture.
Allowing Jeju Island to exist as a blockchain hub would give new ICO projects a good reason not to follow the steps of their seniors. With the right regulatory frameworks in place, they can carry out crypto fundraising activities on home soil with relative ease.
If it gets even better, then we can expect established blockchain projects such as ICON, whose currency is ranked 36 on the list of top cryptocurrencies by CMC, to make a return to their homeland.
This will boost the South Korean economy massively and allow the country to “become a leader rather than a consumer of the new global industry.” On the other hand, neglecting Won’s call may be the breaking point.
Jeju Island to Lead the Blockchain Bandwagon
Whether the government grants Won’s request to designate Jeju island as a special zone for blockchain and cryptocurrency is something we’ll have to wait to see.
However, plans for the province to lead the blockchain bandwagon is well in place, since reports also mentioned that the government of Jeju Island and private experts are on course to form a task force that will figure out how the project will be executed.
Having blockchain companies settle in the region will add to its already impressive portfolio as a great tourist site and the possibility of allowing crypto payments for tourists will likely be the first things to be put in place if the “Jeju Free International City” proposal is granted.
A new release by the South Korean government has also revealed that it plans to invest around $880 Million in innovative technologies which blockchain is a part of. Allowing Jeju to exercise its independent power in the quest to grow a blockchain hub will give the country the opportunity to test any upcoming regulations it could have for the industry with companies existing here.
The proposal has been drafted and the roadmap defined. Will the proposal be granted? We hope it is.
Originally published at cryptopotato.com on August 16, 2018.