South Korea fintech sandbox attracts $111M funding, creates 380 jobs

South Korea has given an update on its regulatory sandbox, and it has been a great success. The sandbox has attracted KRW136.4 billion (US$111 million) in investment for the startups, a local report has revealed. It also created 380 fintech jobs, including in blockchain technology.

The sandbox is operated by the Financial Services Commission, Korea’s financial industry regulator. As per a report by local outlet Shina Ilbo, the regulator revealed recently that the sandbox has seen the launch of 36 services after close monitoring for a year. Yet another 66 are in their last stages in the sandbox and will be launched this year.

The watchdog recognized 16 companies that have grown aggressively and attracted $111 million in investment. Seven of these have international ambitions and are already pursuing business opportunities in countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

The banking sector has the highest number of startups in the sandbox. Insurance, capital markets, lending and IT are the other industries with high interest.

Blockchain has been a key area of focus in the sandbox, the report reveals. The regulator is conducting research into the use of blockchain in “real estate quote evaluation, chatbot service, and credit evaluation using AI (Artificial Intelligence).”

An official from the FSC lauded the efforts of the participants of the sandbox. At a time when the coronavirus has interrupted the normal way of life, fintech startups are playing a big role in easing the burden and ensuring that most financial services can go on uninterrupted.

The FSC added nine blockchain firms to its sandbox earlier this month. While it didn’t give the details of the companies it accepted, the continued support for blockchain companies by the regulator is an indication that the East Asian country sees blockchain as an integral technology.

Several other countries have established similar sandboxes, with blockchain startups featuring in nearly all of them. In the U.K, the FCA admitted Diro Labs, Fintech Delivery Panel Partners and Nuggets—three blockchain startups—to its sandbox earlier this month. Brazil and Israel have also sought to take similar measures, with the latter’s initiative receiving over 2,000 applications.

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