South Korea providing $9M to back blockchain startups

South Korea has established itself as a hotbed for new technology, especially when it comes to blockchain technology. On Monday,the Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA) announced that it will provide $9 million in funding to six startup companies in 2020.

The 10.5 billion won (approximately $9 million) will fund 10 different projects specifically geared towards helping those startup companies next year. However, some of the money will be used to fund projects over the next three or four years.

Min Kyung-sik, head of KISA’s blockchain center, was quoted by CoinDesk Korea saying the maximum amount of funding that any project will receive is $1.2 million.

Last Thursday, the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT published a development plan on how they intend to employ blockchain technology in the near future. The plan was to set up a comprehensive plan for the country to follow with “a medium- to long-term plan for expanding blockchain technology.”

The plan is for the ICT ministry to take the lead in working with various government agencies to determine how blockchain pilot programs and platforms can be used in the public sector. It looks like initial work will focus on livestock supply chain management, online voting, real estate transactions, cross-border document distribution, and customs clearance.

It was already announced last week that a new ID verification system will be implemented in one of the regions of South Korea. This new ID system will use blockchain technology that will verify such things as graduation and employment certificates for employers and government agencies.

Those interested in receiving the funding will have until November 11 to submit an application. Both private and public sector projects will be considered with the final determination for funding being made on December 20. There are approximately 400 government and government-related entities within the public sector who could be vying for this funding.

The KISA opted to not seek assistance from cryptocurrency projects or crypto exchanges. However, they are willing to accept assistance from major financial institutions who may be supplying digital tokens to assist with the funding.

While this is a giant step forward in helping these projects to become reality, it is a step back from the ambitious plans initially proposed. Originally the government had planned to find 12 projects with $11 million in funding, but that amount has been cut by nearly 20%.

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