There are a number of competitive blockchain-focused projects in South Korea which have weathered the test of time thus far to continuously offer unique products and services. This east asian nation is known for their deep interest in blockchain technology, as companies, and even the government are having ongoing development in this area despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The South Korean government has stated that the blockchain market represents a “golden opportunity” for the country; calling for private sector companies throughout South Korea to exploit this potential.
The interest was more so evident in 2018; when CoinMarketCap decided to exclude the data from South Korean exchanges, where virtual currencies traded at a wide premium and this change had triggered a broad selloff in the market by confused traders.
The Kimchi Premium
Photo courtesy from Santiment
“Every crypto is priced at a 30 percent premium in South Korea,” said Greg Dwyer, head of business development at cryptocurrency derivatives exchange BitMex. It is observed that South Korean exchanges generally have huge demand comparative to other countries, and monetary restrictions make it appealing for citizens to engage in crypto trading.
“South Korea has always had a premium because it’s very difficult to get cash out of the country,” said Dwyer. “Anyone looking to take advantage of an arbitrage in South Korea needs to do it with fiat currencies.”
Though looking outside of the trading lens, regional governments and major enterprises have been doubling down in the development of blockchain for enterprise and government use cases. The South Korean government plans on working hand-in-hand with private enterprises to maximize the country’s footprint in the blockchain market. The government’s budget for the next year is reported to contain a number of blockchain-related projects.
South Korean Government Grant for $3.2 Million to Blockchain Companies
Koo Yun-cheol, the Vice Minister of Strategy and Finance.
“The size of the blockchain-related industry is expected to grow by more than 80% per year on average, and is competitively supporting foreign countries to preoccupy the market that is attracting attention as a promising technology in the future.” Koo Yun-cheol, the Vice Minister of Strategy and Finance.
It was reported on March 17 2020 that two South Korean ministries have announced their support for the blockchain industry in their country and have plans to allocate up to $3.2 million in funding to local startups to encourage the use of technology. The two ministries?
- The Ministry of Science and ICT (Information and Communications Technology)
- The Ministry of Information and Communication Industry
They are to launch a pilot program called “Blockchain Technology Validation Support" in 2020. This goes to show that ongoing development and interest is accruing in the region by regional ministries.
Aergo & Blocko
In more recent news, a report had surfaced in mid April 2020. A Quarterly Project Update of a local enterprise blockchain development BaaS project, Aergo; who is a strategic partner of Blocko - released a wealth of information regarding their ongoing and previous contracted works with the South Korean government.
Aergo provides a blockchain protocol, smart contract engine, and a comprehensive platform for building decentralized applications. You run your own private blockchain to host your app, connected to the Aergo mainnet, a public blockchain. This combines the privacy, performance, and flexibility of a private setup with the immutability, openness, and trust of a public network.
The platform lets you practically apply this ‘hybrid’ approach using battle-tested development tools in your buildout with best-of-breed automated cloud management software in your deployment. It’s a platform that gives you everything you need so you can focus on building an application with real adoption.
Below is a list of their upcoming South Korean customer acquisition works.
In summary, Blocko has won four large Aergo-based blockchain contracts in Q4 2019 and Q1 2020 with the local Korean government - listing a number of additional deals signed with existing government clients and new private sector clients.
Blocko's South Korean Customer Acquisition
1. Korea Industrial Complex Corporation Department (KICCD)
Blocko has signed a deal with the corporate urban planning in business locations and regulation of business development activities in Korea. Blocko is working with the KICCD to establish a new scope for how blockchain and complex big data ecosystems can be utilized to improve deposits and transfers of corporate funds in the FinTech sector. This is being developed and may soon move into implementation - They have acquired their accrued experience working with major Korean enterprises such as Shinhan & Lotte Card in a similar fashion and are applying themselves to help the KICCD.
2. Korea Food Research Institute (KFRI)
The KFRI has contracted the Blocko & Aergo team to develop food quality, safety, and trace verifiability supply chain management platform utilizing Aergo Enterprise. Currently in its initial stage - they are going through the design and study of their entire end-to-end supply chain. This initiative will aid in keeping Korea’s food supply safe and efficient - in the process of being transported from farm to table. Taking advantage of certain elements of hybrid blockchain technology.
3. Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI)
Projects goal: To create its own blockchain platform across its value chain and incorporate a new wallet for internal and external industry use. KETI saw Aergo among a number of potential larger candidate vendors to build this new platform.
4. Korea Standards Association (KoSA)
Blocko and Aergo are to contribute to the development of the national economy by boosting industrial standards and QOM. They have requested the Blocko & Aergo team to help boost the community’s understanding of blockchain and Aergo’s technology by holding a series of lectures on blockchain tech and its related industrial use case.
5. Returning Government Customers
Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) and a number of confidential projects are underway. The Blocko and Aergo team will continue to foster a strong relationship and guide KISA on how to effectively implement a number of new technologies and innovations across all of their business verticals.
Private sector clients
6. Prominent Wealthy Estate
The Blocko team have successfully secured a deal to create a physical gold-backed stable token platform and over-the-counter (OTC) exchange. This exchange will allow eased trading of precious metals among traders and investors. What wealthy estate would this be? Only time will tell.
7. Aergo GEM - Btree
Traditional reward points have limitations for liquidity, proprietary ownership, expiration, and limited interoperability. Aergo GEM provides a rewards program for various businesses.
- Customers can trade Aergo GEM for products/services
- Convert into FIAT / Other Cryptocurrencies.
- Businesses can create enticing marketing programs for their customers earning AergoGEM
- Game Launcher: Btree - an example of an app that hosts multiple games & gamers earn Aergo GEM’s for the times they play different games.
Btree is a South Korean app which utilizes Aergo Gem and distributes it to gamers and incentivizes longer gameplay. Btree benefits by its easy way of offering rewards marketing with benefits of having a cryptocurrency without having to develop its own tokens - adhering and mitigating any maintenance costs & legal risks.
8. Additional Private Sector Initiatives - Underway
There are plans with a top university in the USA to create a construction supply chain platform that will enforce user-role controlled by authentication and smart contract external B2B process automation.
9. Hyundai AutoEver - Continued
Continued use of the Aergo platform for managing and tracking the history of used cars in it’s South Korea-based ecosystem. This was showcased in a government event earlier this year to try the same solution with other clients alongside Hyindai AutoEver.
Overall, there are a number of areas Aergo and Blocko are working on with regards to valuable partnerships and projects with global companies. Last year they were listed on the new Samsung Galaxy S20’s Blockchain wallet which would likely bring additional service benefits to both Samsung and Aergo users, and more recently they have launched the Execution Intelligence group (E24P) which you can read about more in their Q4-2019 - Q1 2020 QPU.
South Korea is quite ahead when it comes to blockchain adoption and it's no doubt that companies such as Aergo by Blocko are moving faster than ever to offer enterprise grade solutions as we approach an era of further decentralization and usage.