South Korea to support blockchain companies with a $3M grant

South Korea is committing to supporting the growth of blockchain technology in the country and in its latest move, it has announced a 3.9 billion won ($3.09 million) grant. The grant will be administered by the Ministry of Science and ICT and will support up to nine blockchain companies. The companies will be selected based on their current performance, the level of jobs created and more.

The project will be known as the ‘Blockchain Technology Validation Support in 2020’, the Ministry stated in a press release, revealing that it will administer it with the help of the National Institute of Information and Communication Industry Promotion (NIPA). The two will select nine companies developing blockchain solutions, with each set to receive 450 million won ($356,000). The application period ends on November 30.

The grant will seek to support small and medium-sized blockchain enterprises. The main factors for evaluation will be the feasibility of the company’s performance thus far, the specificity of technology verification, the business goals, the expected impact on the country and the number of jobs it expects to create. Companies that combine blockchain with other fourth industrial revolution technologies including artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will receive special consideration.

This is not the first time the South Korean government has issued a grant to blockchain companies. Last year, the government picked 11 companies to support. This group went on to file 5 patent applications, register 9 copyrights and have two investment rounds.

South Korea’s ICT Minister Park Yun-gyu pledged the government’s support for emerging technologies like blockchain, stating, “We plan to support domestic specialized companies to rapidly grow and activate the ecosystem in the early stage of the blockchain market.”

South Korea has continued to support blockchain technology and digital currencies, recently becoming one of the few countries that have established a digital currencies regulatory framework. The country’s legislature passed a bill early this month that introduces a framework for regulating digital currencies and operators in the sector. They included guidelines related to adhering to FATF regulations such as anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies.

The pro-blockchain approach by the government has seen many companies in the East Asian nation integrate the technology. Electronics giants Samsung and LG are among the companies that have invested heavily in the research and development of blockchain. Earlier this month, an organization the two companies founded debuted its blockchain identification system that is now in use by one of the country’s banks. The association is known as the Initial DID Association, with other members including Hyundai, KEB Hana Bank, KT and Koscom.

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