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Association asks gov’t to embrace blockchain

Aug 08,2018
A blockchain association made up of former politicians and professors filed a demand Tuesday that the government regulate the budding technology to create jobs and pave the way for Korea to lead the world in the fourth industrial revolution.

“Countries around the world are applying blockchain technology to all aspects of society including health care, retail and logistics,” said Yoo Joon-sang, president of the Korea Blockchain Enterprise Promotion Association, at a press briefing held by the association on Tuesday.

“But instead of welcoming the people’s fervor for the technology, the government is focused on controlling it to address negative short-term side effects. This is essentially kicking away the economic opportunities that lie in front of us.”

“The association demands that the government hurry to regulate the basic laws that will guide the blockchain industry, including policies to guide ICOs [initial coin offerings] and virtual currency exchanges.”

Key members of the association, formed on July 17, include ex-politicians like Yoo and fellow former National Assembly member Ryu Keun-chan, and former prime minister Lee Soo-sung. The association is also led by professionals like Prof. Kim Hyoung-joong, head of Korea University’s Cryptocurrency Center at the Graduate School of Information Security.

The members’ main objective is to use their technological expertise and experience in the government to push for and regulate the application of blockchain technology in diverse industries, which they expect will help create jobs and relieve the financial burdens of small business owners.

“The government announced that it would cut credit card commissions for the 3.4 million small business owners in the country,” Yoo said. “Incorporating blockchain technology into that project will be helpful.”

The members are looking to Jeju Island to build the foundations of Korea’s blockchain industry.

“I and some other members flew to Jeju Island to meet Gov. Won Hee-ryong last week to discuss ICOs and virtual currency accounts on the island,” Yoo said.

One of the campaign promises of Jeju Gov. Won during the June local elections was to develop Jeju Island into a “Crypto Valley” on par with Singapore. Though there are still legal barriers, Jeju Island has a greater chance of successfully pushing for ambitious blockchain or virtual currency projects thanks to its semi-autonomous status that grants the governor the right to make the final call on issues outside the realm of national defense, diplomacy and the judiciary system.


BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]


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