South Korea dedicates $8B for blockchain, AI, big data in 2019

In a press release, South Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance announced that a total of 9 to 10 trillion won ($8 billion to $8.84 billion) will be allocated in the next five years for their ‘Growth through Innovation’ Investment Plan. In 2019, the budget for the initiative is at 5 trillion won ($4.42 billion), 1 trillion won ($884 million) of which would go to AI, big data, and blockchain technology development.

“Given the impact of a nationwide platform on other industries, in addition to those directly involved, the platform economy will accelerate ‘growth through innovation,’” the Ministry wrote in the release.

The initiative will be focusing on building two platforms: one digital platform for big data analytics, and a supply chain system for hydrogen fuel cells—both of which can be achieved using blockchain technology.

“The government will focus on promoting big data and AI, developing blockchain technology to ensure data management security and boosting the sharing economy.”

South Korea is one of the largest markets for cryptocurrency trading in the world, with the South Korean won being the third most used currencies in crypto transactions.

“The South Korean cryptocurrency market is significantly larger in scale than the domestic financial market or virtual currency markets in other countries, while the percentage of Bitcoin transactions is the lowest in the world,” according to Korea Insurance Research Institute senior research fellow Im Joon-hwan.

The government was quick to recognize this and has been working on regulatory frameworks to cover the industry. And with things looking good for cryptocurrencies in the country, some are already making efforts to secure themselves on the map by making advanced moves for crypto-adoption. One example is Governor Won Hee-ryong of Jeju Island, who just made an official proposal to turn the province into the country’s crypto and blockchain hub.

Big companies have also taken notice: cryptocurrency exchange Binance has reportedly been hiring executives in the country, hinting at a looming expansion plan. Bithumb has also been teaming up with digital payment provider Korea Pay to enable users to shop with cryptocurrencies in over 8,000 stores by the end of the year.

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