South Korea’s Jeju Island Seeks To Become Special Blockchin Zone

Blockchain, News, Regulation | August 13, 2018 By:

The governor of Jeju Island of South Korea wants the island to become the next Zug and Malta of Asia with favorable regulatory frameworks targeted at blockchain businesses.

Jeju Island is the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, and the main island of Jeju Province of South Korea. The island is a popular holiday destination and a sizable portion of the economy relies on tourism and economic activity from its civil/naval base.

During a meeting last week with high-ranking government officials and policymakers at Sejong, Jeju Island governor Won Hee-ryong requested the central government to designate the island a special zone for blockchain and cryptocurrency. He said the island, which is being developed as “Jeju Free International City,” could help the government implement necessary measures to develop the crypto industry, including drastic de-regulation.

“Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global Internet platform development,” said Won “Blockchain can cut costs, provide stable transactions and essentially has the potential to become a game changer that could alter the ecosystem of the Internet platform industry. For Korea to become a leader rather than a consumer of this new global industry, we need to quickly allow [the operation of] blockchain and cryptocurrency [firms].”

The governor’s statements are fueling expectations among the local crypto industry that initial coin offerings (ICO), which have been banned by the South Korean government last year, could be allowed in Jeju Island.

“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 do their coin offering elsewhere due to the government’s stance.”

While the South Korean government has completely banned ICOs in the country, it has a piece of regulation in place which excludes Jeju Island from most of the federal regulations, providing the government of the island authority to establish its own policies and run an autonomous government.

“We are currently in the process of a reshuffle to create a department dedicated to developing the blockchain industry on the island,” explained an official from the Jeju provincial government. “Things will become more materialized by the end of this month.”