Markus Jun
Oct 15, 2018 · 7 min read

This article has been translated by the Hx57 community into:

French: Spl3en
Arabic: @Mota553
Russian: Denis Lemza
Chinese: @2infiniti
Korean: Hyun Oh & Edward Kim.

Why the World is watching the Korean Government

It once accounted for the largest ETH trading volume in the world. The world’s largest exchanges are either from Korea or have launched branches within. An argument could be made that the government’s decision to block new fiat deposits to Korean exchanges sparked this bear market. Many including CZ of Binance have declared that Korea is one of the most important crypto markets in the world. It’s indisputable that Korea is a key player.

What’s unique about the Korean Crypto market?

Last year, when Korean cryptocurrency prices were setting global records, something was happening uniquely in Korea: 30% of all working people had invested in cryptocurrencies. This is a population density of crypto investors that’s globally unheard of. This unprecedented penetration normalized the idea of cryptocurrencies on a national scale which fundamentally changed the nature of the market.

The Korean crypto market is unique in that leading traditional companies are looking to tokenize/apply blockchain to their existing business models. That is to say that top companies, not those starved for money, are looking at the blockchain/cryptocurrency market as the next sector to conquer, much like they viewed the web and mobile markets.

Source: Cointelegraph (Note: Bithumb was recently purchased by BK Consortium, led by Korea’s leading plastic surgery clinic)

This is already apparent in the fact that some of the largest corporations in Korea already have skin in the game via equity in the largest exchanges in Korea. Tokenization/blockchain application is next. Despite this, the only Korean blockchain platform that makes the front page of coinmarketcap is ICON.

What does that mean for ICON and Korea?

This puts both Korea and ICON in a unique position. As mentioned, the majority of projects from Korea are those that require platforms, not build them. And as the current leading platform in Korea, ICON is focused on serving these projects. Hence, the business partnerships with companies like LINE (joint venture), Samsung Electronics, SK Planet, and Smilegate. All national leaders in their respective industries.

Leading Government Initiatives for Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Since 2016, ICON has been at the center of several core government blockchain initiatives and its leading blockchain tech partner. ICON is working on several government backed projects in the Insurance, Healthcare, Customs Service, and Education industries and received government funding from both the Ministry of Creation and Science and the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

Recently ICON has gone beyond just government projects and has undertaken a more active role in leading and shaping government initiatives. In this article, I’ll explore them in the following order below.

  1. ICON x Korea National Election Committee
  2. ICON Council x Jeju Governor
  3. ICON x Seoul Government x Mayor Park Won-soon x S-Coin
  4. ICON Council: KJ Eee x Korea Blockchain Association
  5. ICON x Korea National Assembly x Estonian President
  6. What’s Next for ICON and Korea?

ICON x Korea National Election Committee

In July 2018, ICONLOOP was selected as the blockchain technology consultant for ‘Building the Next Generation Election System based on Intelligence Information Technology’, launched by the Korea National Information Society Agency and supervised by Korea National Election Commission (NEC).

ICONLOOP will offer expertise in constructing a blockchain-based voting and ballot counting system. This project aims to utilize the core technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which includes blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data.

ICON Council x Jeju Governor

After ICON Council members met with the Jeju Governor in Jeju to discuss blockchain and cryptocurrency regulations, the Governor visited ICON’s office this September to meet and further discussions with Council Members KJ Eee and JH Kim. The discussion also involved Deblock’s Managing Partner, Hyun Oh, and the CEOs of Webloc and Stayge.

Discussions involved talks of making Jeju a blockchain hub of Korea, the difference between cryptocurrencies and blockchain, and how ICON could accelerate the process.

Source: Coindesk

ICON x Seoul Metropolitan Government x Mayor Park Won-soon

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon is one of the strongest public proponents of blockchain in South Korea, and has mentioned the idea of Seoul Coin (S-Coin), to be used within administrations of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. S-Coin was initially suggested by ICON Council Member KJ Eee in 2016 to the Seoul Government, and ICONLOOP is currently in active talks with the government to further develop S-coin which will be utilize loopchain technology.

Mayor Park Won-soon recently revealed his masterplan to turn Seoul into a blockchain hub which involved a 100 million USD blockchain fund, as well as building the country’s largest blockchain zones to facilitate more than 200 blockchain companies.

In September, ICONLOOP was selected as an operator of Seoul’s Standard Blockchain platform for the ‘Seoul Blockchain Demonstration Project,’ commissioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

Loopchain will be the engine of Seoul Standard Blockchain Platform for a used car trading system, and mobile-voting system over the next six months. Verification business is also planned for services such as citizen cards, mileage integration, subcontract payment, and others.

Chain Sign used to digitally sign the Seoul Fintech Lab MOU

Chain Sign, developed by ICONLOOP and Cyberdigm, is a blockchain based contract platform which allow legally binding contracts to be signed digitally. It is powered by loopchain and has proven its cost efficiency and tamper-proof safety to a clientele that includes the government’s regulatory authority, Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), and Samsung Electronics. The MOU signing of the Seoul Fintech Lab (launched by the Seoul Metropolitan Government) was executed via Chain Sign by the Mayor of Seoul and the Financial Supervisory Service Director.

ICON Council Member: KJ Eee

ICON Council Member: KJ Eee x Korea Blockchain Association

In October, KJ Eee, ICON Council Member, was recently invited to be the President of the ICO Committee of the Korea Blockchain Association. This is a 60 member strong association which includes Korea’s largest exchanges like Bithumb, Korbit, and UPbit. The association was founded by Jin Dae-jae, a former Minister of Information and Communications and President of Samsung Electronics, and all political parties of the Korean government have expressed support for it.

“Lawmakers in Korea from the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, the ruling Minjoo Party and minor opposition People’s Party have vouched to support the (Korea Blockchain) Association to improve the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.”

ICON x Korea National Assembly x Estonian President

Hosted by the Korea National Assembly and organized conjunctly with Blockchain Associations in Korea, the event was titled: “South Korea’s New Opportunity, Blockchain — ABC.” The description was as follows:

“The global blockchain market is expected to expand by tenfold over the next five years, and the blockchain industry represents a new opportunity for an ICT powerhouse like South Korea.”

JH Kim, ICON Council Member at the National Assembly

Both KJ Eee, and JH Kim, ICON Council Members, were invited to discuss the importance of legislation and further advance the Korean Blockchain Industry. Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid was invited to give a speech on digital innovation for nations. Estonia is one of the global leaders of crypto regulation, and the Estonian President was awarded an honorary citizenship of Korea by the Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon who was also given Estonian e-residency. The Korea Blockchain Association, of which ICON Council Member KJ Eee leads the ICO Committee, was one of the hosts/organizers of this event.

What’s next for ICON & Korea?

ICON is actively leading state-level discussions with the government to accelerate the state of crypto legislation in the country. Korea is not unaware of the fact that blockchain is a critical industry for them to conquer as evidenced by multi million dollar investments by the government as well as several prominent politicians urging regulatory oversight. With large corporations backing the largest exchanges in Korea and many of them looking to tokenize, the pressure is strong from both individuals and companies for clear regulations. Regardless of which regulatory stance Korea chooses, it’s clear that it matters, and ICON will continue to push discussions.

This is the first of a series of a deeper exploration/analysis into ICON’s initiatives that I’ll be covering. If you have feedback or suggestions for different topics, please let me know here.

Have questions on the relationship between ICONLOOP & ICON? For answers to the question and more information on ICON and its government projects, read the ICON Report Part 1, the full report here.

Markus Jun


Markus Jun

Written by

CEO & Co-Founder of Reached. Former Head of Research at Deblock, ICON VC Fund & Accelerator. Previously Penn, SNU.

Markus Jun


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