After China announced its new focus on the blockchain technology last week, South Korea follows suit with additional investments.
The country's government will invest some USD 12.8 million in blockchain projects in 2020, the Ministry of Science and ICT has confirmed.
Per Fn News, the ministry has outlined a range of spending plans it hopes will help provide a boost to both public and private sector blockchain initiatives – and hopes to train a new generation of blockchain experts.
The ministry says the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA), which reports to the ministry, will provide “over USD 8.6 million to develop services that can be used by public institutions and the private sector.”
KISA says it is also looking to select and back a “multi-year” project – a blockchain initiative it can back financially over the course of several years.
And some USD 3.4 million in funding will be handed out by the government-run National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA), which currently oversees free blockchain training sessions. NIPA will expand its current range of blockchain courses, with introductory, developers and specialist courses all to be made available for free in the Mapo district of Seoul.
NIPA has been charged with nurturing “specialized blockchain companies and fostering experts,” and as well as funding the blockchain courses budget, the USD 3.4 million will also be used to provide up to USD 342,000 worth of support to selected private sector blockchain startups.
The agencies say they will also look to conduct research on “regulatory support.” A number of prominent South Korean companies and activists have implored the government to change its stance on blockchain policy. While Seoul remains firmly in favor of all things private blockchain-related, public blockchain and cryptocurrency-related projects have been frowned upon.
As previously reported, KISA has recently spoken about expanding the scope of its blockchain pilot projects, moving from short-term pilots to “medium and long-term” projects. The agency is currently working on some 12 public-private pilots, which it says are “on average 80% complete.”