South Korea Earmarks $4.4 Billion for Blockchain and Select Innovative Sectors

The government of South Korea will reportedly invest 5 trillion won (about $4.4 billion) in the development of eight innovative sectors of the economy including blockchain next year.

According to a news report from Yonhap News Agency, the decision is an outcome of a meeting involving the South Koreas finance minister and other economy-related ministers. A statement from the ministry was quoted:

“The measures will help facilitate the platform economy, which in turn will help speed up innovative growth.”

The budgeted investment in the special sectors is part of broader changes in the budgetary approach as next year’s budget estimates is 65 percent higher than that for this year. The minister of Finance, Kim Dong-Yeon disclosed that the government plans to increase budgetary spending in the special sectors to $10 trillion Won over the next five years. Other special sectors include artificial intelligence (AI), big data, autonomous driving, fintech, and smart factories.

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“Up to 10 trillion won will be invested in such sectors as Big Data, AI and other key leading segments”    Kim Dong-Yeon

While encouraging the private sector to also invest in the emerging technologies, the government disclosed that it would invest a further 60 billion (about $53 million) to train 10,000 specialists for the promising sectors. This comes on the back of last week’s news that the country organized a special training for youths in the areas of blockchain and other emerging technologies.

South Korea also promised to ease regulations that have been blocking these new industries and technologies from taking off. Though the country has promised to foster blockchain technology, it is illegal to conduct Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in the country. ICOs are crowdfunding popular among blockchain and cryptocurrency projects. More recently, the Ministry of Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Startups (MSS) excluded ICOs from is Venture Enterprise Category.

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