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South Korean energy giant sets up $84 million fund to spur metaverse adoption

South Korea’s Daesung’s Group is entering the metaverse with the launch of an $84-million fund for firms operating in the ecosystem. 

The fund is the largest metaverse grant in South Korea’s history and will be run by Daesung Venture Investment Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the Daesung Group, local news outlet Newsis reported. The private equity firm said the Daesung Metaverse Scale-up Fund would focus on distributed ledger technology (DLT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and extended reality (XR).

Korea Venture Investment Corp contributed $46 million to the fund, while the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK), Shinhan Capital Co. Ltd, and other subsidiaries of Daesung Group made investments in the metaverse fund. The energy conglomerate appears to be pivoting from the oil and gas sector into Web3 through strategic investments in the ecosystem.

Daesung Private Equity has sunk funds into Upbit’s parent company Dunamu and gaming firm KRAFTON, makers of PUBG: Battlegrounds. The firm has also funded Lidi, Riiid, Innosimulation, and Shiftup, firms which experts believe are within arm’s reach of unicorn status.

“We plan to actively support the growth of representative metaverse companies that will lead the global market, from early-stage companies in the metaverse field to companies in the scale-up stage, such as investing in M&As promoted by venture companies in this field for the purpose of expanding their business areas or scale,” said the fund managers.

“Rather than a new industry field, the metaverse will become a game-changer that will lead the future of our industry and the global economy,” said Younghoon David Kim, Chairman of Daesung Group. 

The launch of the metaverse fund brings the total number of funds managed by the VC firm to 16. Currently, the firm’s total assets under its management stand at over $311 billion.

South Korea lights up the way in metaverse development

South Korea has put significant distance between itself and other countries, jostling for the top spot in metaverse development. The pro-digital asset regime led by President Yoon Suk-yeol has issued several regulations for the industry’s growth, and the latest is the launch of a national metaverse strategy.

The country’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) also revealed ethical principles to guide the growth of the industry while preventing misuse by bad actors. Under the non-binding framework, metaverse service providers are expected to abide by the principles of authenticity, inclusiveness, respect for privacy, and fairness.

In February, the ministry unveiled a $172 million fund to grow the local virtual world ecosystem while setting its sights on becoming the leading region in metaverse adoption.

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