Blockchain group appoints head

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Blockchain group appoints head


Chin Dae-je, former minister of information and communication, speaks at the launch event for the Korea Blockchain Association on Friday in western Seoul. [YONHAP]

A renowned tech guru and former information minister returned to the industry as the chief of an association representing cryptocurrency exchanges and companies developing blockchain technology.

Chin Dae-je, who also served as CEO of Samsung Electronics, became the first president of the Korea Blockchain Association on Friday and vowed to cope with the government’s heavy-handed approach to cryptocurrency trading.

“The association will act as a communication channel between the government and the industry,” Chin said in a ceremony held to celebrate the founding of the association.

“[I] will try best to foster a healthy industrial environment for the blockchain industry by encouraging member companies to invest in new players.”

His experience as the minister of information and communication under former President Roh Moo-hyun will likely help him better convey messages to the government as some key aides of the Moon Jae-in administration overlap with those from the previous government.

He cited Japan as having an ideal regulatory environment.

“I am going to study the regulatory framework in Japan so that the entire ecosystem will run in a stable manner,” the head said.

But he refrained from being excessively rosy about cryptocurrency, which is built on the blockchain system.

“The speculative aspect of cryptocurrency emerged as a social problem even before a consensus about blockchain technology was made,” Chin said, “I agree with the view that without understanding the technology, the obsessive investment practice is no different from gambling, as the government warned.”

The government said that it intends to heavily regulate the cryptocurrency market because it is vulnerable to speculation and volatility. But as for blockchain technology, both the financial regulators and minister of ICT pledged their support.

Born in 1952, Chin comes from Uiryeong in South Gyeongsang. He graduated from Seoul National University with a major in electronic engineering. After earning his doctorate at Stanford University and doing a stint at IBM in the United States, Chin joined Samsung Electronics in 1985.

He went on to establish SkyLake Investment, a private equity firm that specializes in investment in the IT and manufacturing sectors, in 2006. The company manages almost 2 trillion won ($1.88 billion) and owns a governing stake in a number of companies.

Korea Blockchain Association has over 60 members including three major exchanges - Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit. IT companies whose business focus or interest lies in blockchain are also members, including Lotte Data Communication and Itcen.

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