Won Hee-ryong, governor of Jeju Island, made broke headlines on August 13, 2018, when he made a formal request to designate the island as a “special economic zone” for blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Jeju To Become “Free International City”
Jeju Island is an island south of the mainland of The Republic of Korea. This request was made earlier in August 2018 during a meeting with government officials and policymakers at Sejong. Notable members include Kim Dong-yeon, Korea’s finance minister and deputy prime minister for the economy.
Hee-ryong believes that making Jeju a crypto-friendly zone through loosening of regulation would allow Korea to develop the nascent industry and put Korea as a contender for new blockchain talent.
Companies Free to Crowdrise Funds Through ICO
Initial plans are to allow blockchain companies and projects that choose to remain within Jeju to freely raise funds through ICO, which have come under attack from various governments.
This would retain more Korean companies looking to experiment with blockchain from setting up headquarters in more crypto-friendly countries like Switzerland, Malta, or Singapore, and staying home.
Icon, a leading Korean blockchain project, is already in talks with Jeju officials. Korea is the origin to many innovating projects, but that has left for friendlier regulations, deciding “to do their coin offering elsewhere due to the government’s stance.”
This announcement comes shortly after a statement from the Korean government late last month announcing the creation of an independent cryptocurrency division, showing Korea’s commitment to investing within the blockchain and crypto industry.
While things are still uncertain, especially with the central government calling ICO’s a “fundraising activity without permission” in 2017, the governor’s vision to make the island a blockchain hub has some hurdles to jump over first.
Despite this, an official from the Jeju government expects things to be more handled by the end of this month, expecting “things to be more materialized by the end of this month.”