South Korea Includes Blockchain Technology as Part of $4.4 Billion Domestic Spending Plan

The South Korean government has launched a 5 trillion won ($4.4 billion) domestic spending plan aiming to accelerate innovative growth in what it considers to be 8 key sectors in industry and technology. Blockchain, along with autonomous driving and smart factories, are listed as some of the key sectors within the plan. The Korean Finance Ministry states that they are taking the lead for new research in these areas in hopes that the private sector will follow in their example.

The new spending program is part of a 65 percent increase this year in South Korea’s federal government spending. Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon stated at an economy-related ministers meeting in Seoul that the Korean government is promising to increase investment spending in these sectors to 10 trillion won over the next five years. The finance ministry is reportedly in the middle of drawing up a long term road map to “nurture such industries”.

“Up to 10 trillion won will be invested in such sectors as Big Data, AI and other key leading segments,” said Finance Minister Kim. A press release from the finance ministry added, “The measures will help facilitate the platform economy, which in turn will help speed up innovative growth.”

South Korean Government Leading By Example

The finance ministry has stated that state-led companies might wind up spending over 30 trillion won in the eight leading industrial sectors by 2022, with hopes to garner support from private company investment to push innovation.

The Korean government also plans on spending an additional 60 billion won in hiring and training 10,000 specialists within these industries over the next 5 years. These initiatives are part of a campaign led by South Korean President Moon Jae, who has also promised to take drastic measures in easing regulations that have been blocking new technologies from moving forward.

South Korea continues to be one of the global leaders for government-backed programs focusing on innovation in blockchain technology. Last month, South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT announced a new Blockchain Development Strategy that included a 230 billion won (~$207 million) investment by the Korean government into developing blockchain technology. The South Korean government has projected that the global blockchain market will grow over ten times its current size over the next 5 years.

Conversely, discussions surrounding cryptocurrency in South Korea remain heated. South Korea has one of the largest actively trading cryptocurrency markets in the world, but the country has suffered from a series of multimillion dollar exchange hacks in recent years. While there appears to be no push for any sort of out right ban on crypto, Korean lawmakers are actively pushing for much needed legislation of Korean cryptocurrency exchanges to protect investors from poorly securitized exchanges.

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