Jeju Island Aims to Become an ICO-Friendly Blockchain Hub In spite of South Korea Ban

Jeju Island Aims to Become an ICO-Friendly Blockchain Hub In spite of South Korea Ban

Cryptocurrencies are tumbling down at the moment, and the $6,000 mark is a crucial level for the BTC price. Even though the price is falling the fundamentals looks better, and countries are getting more crypto-friendly. A few months ago Toshi Times covered the story that Lithuania was positioning itself as one of the most crypto-friendly hubs in Europe. Now, Jeju Island aims to become a blockchain hub and an ICO haven.

The governor, Won Hee-Ryon, of Jeju Island want to make the Island a hub for the blockchain industry. He formally requested that the central government designate the island an exclusive zone for blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

“Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global internet platform [development,]” said Won. The meeting was attended by top policymakers such as Korea’s finance minister, Kim Dong-Yeon. Won explained that Jeju Island could help the government implement necessary measures to develop the industry, such as deregulations.

According to Won, blockchain start-ups in Jeju would be free to hold initial coin offerings (ICO), a fund-raising activity where blockchain companies distribute their coins or tokens to potential users of their services or investors.

“Entrepreneurs looking to innovate should be allowed to raise funds through cryptocurrency,” Won said. 

ICOs are an unregulated and riskful way of raising money, at least for investors but a few months ago the Korean government proposed lifting the ICO ban which could help Juju Islands quest.

By providing Korea with a haven for ICOs, Korean start-ups, who have held ICOs overseas in countries such as Switzerland and Singapore could do it on home soil. Global blockchain firms are supportive of the idea and leading blockchain companies, such as ICON, are talking with the government of Jeju Island on how they could operate and move forward.  

“If ICOs were allowed in the country, it would prevent the outflow of capital from Korea,” said an industry insider. “Korea has so many good projects which, unfortunately, all decide to make their coin offering elsewhere due to the government’s stance.”

However, the government in Korea has not rolled out a complete ban of ICOs in Korea but have designated a “fund-raising activity without permission” last year which makes them inherently illegal. The government’s stance could be a significant hurdle for Won, but he will do whatever he can to encourage blockchain business to flourish. It could prove difficult since the Korean regulatory body wants to increase regulations before allowing cryptocurrencies.

Image Source: “Flickr”

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