Conglomerates’ Deep Pockets Continue Blockchain Growth in South Korea Despite Crypto Ban

Unlike in other countries, where startups are at the heart of blockchain development, the South Korean blockchain landscape has “chaebols,” large, family-owned business conglomerates in Korea, at its heart. Just about every month, reports and announcements of large South Korean companies — including Samsung, Naver and NHN, just to name a few — entering into the blockchain space emerge.

Still, South Korea is one of the most advanced markets in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. The first indication comes from how dominant Korean exchanges were during the crypto bull run of 2017, with crypto prices almost always trading at a premium on local exchanges relative to those in other countries.

A second indication is how the Asian country is one of the leaders in blockchain innovations, with projects in the country filing the third-highest blockchain-related patent applications globally.

South Korea was one of the first countries to take regulatory actions against Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and also to initiate regulatory oversight on the operations of local crypto exchanges.

Since ICOs have been fundamental to the proliferation of blockchain startups around the world, the stiff regulatory stance against them in Korea could have tipped the scale in favor of chaebols and conglomerates, all of whom have deep pockets to invest on research and development.

Startups have had to relocate to other countries, chiefly Singapore, to raise funds through an ICO. This explains the dominance of larger companies in the South Korean blockchain space.

Chaebols choose blockchain

The involvement of the Korean conglomerates in blockchain is an extension of how modern South Korea encourages starting early.

The East Asian country has been listed as the most innovative country in the world for six straight years on the Bloomberg Innovation Index.

Cointelegraph has already covered how South Korea’s large companies are entering into the cryptocurrency market by investing in or…

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