South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has launched a programme to encourage local industry to develop blockchain technologies for military applications.

DAPA said on 15 January that the project, through which the agency is offering domestic industry access to funding, is intended to “develop new platforms and services using blockchain technology”.

It said the funding is available to large and small companies in the country and that selected blockchain projects would be presented with opportunities to integrate solutions into South Korea’s efforts to develop and procure 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies.

The 4IR emphasis has been outlined in South Korea’s Defence Industry Development Plan, which was introduced in 2018 and calls for greater focus on industry investment in the development of technologies including robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, and autonomous systems.

*This post is credited to Janes

South Korea’s government has added blockchain to the fields of research and development eligible for a tax credit meant to boost innovation, English-language local media TheNews.Asia reports on Jan. 8.

The local Ministry of Strategy and Finance announced the proposed changes to the enforcement decree of last year’s tax law, which will be enforced in February. The proposed amendments also include among the eligible fields wearable robots and fine dust reduction technology.

According to the aforementioned article, a result of this amendment will be that 30 to 40 percent of the research and development expenses of small enterprises and 20 to 30 of large and medium-sized enterprises will be tax deductible.

Currently, the research and development tax deduction rate for large corporations reportedly ranges from 0 to 2 percent, 8 to 15 percent for medium companies and 25 percent for small enterprises.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, some of South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges have passed a government security audit, but the majority could still be exposed to attacks.

Also, in December of last year, Cointelegraph reportedthat two South Korean government ministries have launched a blockchain pilot for port logistics innovation.

*This post is credited to CoinTelegraph

South Korean electronics giant Samsung is apparently seeking a trademark in the United Kingdom for a cryptocurrency wallet, according to a Dec. 27 filing with the U.K. Intellectual Property Office.

In the “Classes and terms” section of the application, Samsung cites such developments as “Computer software for use as a cryptocurrency wallet; Computer software for cryptocurrency transfer and payment using blockchaintechnology; Computer application software for smartphones, namely, software to allow users to transfer cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology and pay via 3rd party’s application software.”

The application follows rumors — subsequently refuted by Samsung —  that the company has plans to include a cryptocurrency cold wallet on its Galaxy S10 smartphone. Samsung filed three European Union trademark applications for blockchain- and cryptocurrency- related software on Dec. 10.

Earlier in December, Cointelegraph reported that major smartphone manufacturer HTC integrated decentralized browser Brave on the HTC Exodus 1 phone, “the first native blockchain phone” with support for multiple blockchains, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) networks.

Last month, blockchain-focused electronics supplier SIRIN Labs launched its first blockchain-based smartphone called FINNEY. Based on both Android and SIRIN’s open-source operating system, SIRIN OS, the FINNEY phone offers a cold-storage crypto wallet and provides encrypted communications.

In October, Samsung’s production wing, Samsung Foundry, launched a new production process of its 7-nanometer (nm) Low Power Plus (7LPP) process node, which could reduce its energy consumption by up to 50 percent. The chip could purportedly have positive implications for crypto miners usings Samsung’s hardware, as energy costs prove to be a critical factor in the industry’s profitability.

*This post is credited to CoinTelegraph

Two South Korean government ministries have launched a blockchain pilot for port logistics innovation, according to a press release from the country’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIT), published Dec. 18.

MSIT, together with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, are reportedly testing whether the technology can make Korea’s container shipping industry more efficient. As the press release outlines, the pilot will run over a period of one year in the Port of Busan, the country’s largest port, and the fifth busiest container port worldwide.

The initiative aims to ascertain whether leveraging blockchain technology can successfully increase transparency between all parties in the logistics industry, streamline administrative processes in import and export operations and allow for real-time data sharing.

Both ministries have reportedly been collaborating on the project as of early this year, as part of  a “Blockchain Technology Development Strategy,” officially announced by MSIT this June.

As reported, other core pilots in the strategy are planned across the fields of real estate, online voting, livestock record management, customs clearance and international e-document distribution. The strategy overall aims to raise 230 billion won (about $204 million) by 2022.

If the shipping logistics blockchain pilot at Busan will prove successful, both ministries plan to expand the initiative across other ports nationwide.

As reported in June, South Korea has this year announced a partnership with the United States State Department to strengthen the two countries’ cooperation in advancing the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The term has been given by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to indicate a series of technological breakthroughs that “will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another… [across] the global polity.” The WEF notably recognized blockchain’s major role in the Revolution as early as 2016.

In other major news for blockchain and the shipping industry globally, this August IBM and Danish transport and logistics giant Maersk launched their global blockchain-enabled shipping solution, which counted 94 participant organizations and 154 million shipping events already captured at the time of launch.

*This post is credited to Cointelegraph

A goodbye note from Deblock’s now-former Head of Research revealed the progress of their ICON blockchain project in all these months. And they looked extremely positive.

As he left the company to pursue his startup, Markus Jun noted ICON as one of the very few blockchain projects that showed significant accomplishments despite staying inside a bleeding crypto market.

“My time at Deblock and ICON coincided with one of the worst downturns in the cryptocurrency market. In spite of this, I can say that the ICON team has made incredible progress,” Markus wrote while asserting that their interoperable blockchain project till this date leads the South Korean blockchain industry.

“I’ve seen ICON push for significant progress in legitimizing blockchain and cryptocurrencies with the Korean Government, receiving the Minister Award for being an industry leader in the blockchain space, and launching demonstrations and several projects in conjunction with the Seoul Metropolitan Government. I’ve seen several hires in every ICON department, including senior positions, most of which weren’t made public and the team is still actively hiring to this day.”

Markus also brought focus to ICON’s international expansion stories, which included the launch of their global accelerator program ICONLOOP in partnership with the Singapore government, followed by its continuation in Tokyo and San Francisco.

“Beyond this, there are ongoing efforts to expand ICX Station globally. All things considered, it’s clear that ICON isn’t letting the market downturn affect them in moving forward,” Markus explained.

The said expansion is also bringing valuable partners to ICONLOOP. In addition to the Seoul government, ICON has gained support from LINE, Smilegate, Kyobo Insurance, and Jeju Island to develop blockchain solutions for them. It overall makes a long-term use-case for ICON’s ICX public network, indicating a stable growth for its native token ICX as well.

Solvent after Crash

At the time of the ICO, ICON’x ICX token sale raised close to 75,000 ETH. Their smart contract split the funds into 30 separate Ethereum wallets. Between December 2016 and November 2018, ICO team moved circa 70% of their funds to other portfolios – perhaps as part of a sale. After the post-ETH crash adjusments, the team holds around $5 million in ETH reserves.

The figures prove that ICON is far from being insolvent at this time, in contrast to several other ICO projects that have either gone out of business or in a money crisis.

Forrester Research’s chief analyst Martha Bennett predicts that a majority of these ICOs are heading towards an outright extinction in absence of users and funds.

“Sooner or later, this would have led to a contraction anyway. The crypto crash acted as both catalyst and wake-up call.”

Big crypto startups like Coinbase and ConsenSys have also laid off employees in the past two months, indicating that the crypto market, in general, is running out of money.

ICON, with a provable business model and an increasing use-case among well-known organizations, could still survive the bloodbath owing to an actual demand for service.

“I’ve seen the best of ICON in the worst of times. That’s why I’m confident ICON is here to stay,” Markus noted.

*This post is credited to BTC News

As a high-tech hub known for its consumer electronics, tech giants, esports, and global innovation, perhaps it’s not surprising that a report by Cindicator revealed that South Korea will play a major role in cryptocurrency adoption. By reviewing existing data on exchange volumes, recent economic history, regulation, and trends, the tokenized fintech asset management company came to some interesting conclusions.

Based on existing evidence, the country of 50 million inhabitants and one of the world’s top 15 economies is poised to play a major role in embracing cryptocurrencies. This is due to a combination of factors such as exchange infrastructure, a high level of tech adoption, and the country’s regulatory and tax framework.

A Crypto-Friendly Population

When listing the top crypto-friendly countries in the world, rarely does South Korea make the cut. Malta, Singapore, Switzerland, and Estonia are usually more top-of-mind. However, South Koreans with their insatiable appetite for high-tech take the cake in terms of the population’s attitude.

South Koreans, in fact, account for approximately 30 percent of total cryptocurrency trading worldwide, with some 30 percent of all salaried workers owning and trading crypto assets of some kind. Certainly, the country’s recent economic history and growth is a factor, but for a fairly small country, it has a highly developed cryptocurrency exchange scene.

The South Korean Exchange Infrastructure

South Korea has a very developed cryptocurrency exchange scene with Bithumb, the biggest Korean exchange, ranking in the top spot over the last 30 days in terms of trading volume in USD, (data from November 22). There is also Upbit, Coinone, and Korbit. Most of the market is cornered by Bithumb and Upbit (86 percent).

South Korea cryptocurrency exchange

According to the report, there have been plenty of cases in which just the announcement of an altcoin getting listed on either of these exchanges saw its value rise by ridiculous proportions. When tron (TRX) was listed on Bithumb in April 2018, its price went from $0.03 to $0.05 in as little as three hours.

The Cindicator report states:

“There is no doubt that Korean exchanges are a key element in trying to analyze the crypto phenomenon in the Asian.”

Leading Crypto Projects for Mass Adoption

Coinone is working on a blockchain project to make money transfers easier around the globe, while Bithumb also recently announced a payment service in partnership with Qoo10. This company is widely known as the “Asian Amazon.”

There are also plenty of other businesses that are taking blockchain tech to the mainstream, including accelerator projects like Deblock.

Regulation is Coming Around

South Korea was particularly plagued by Ponzi schemes and other sophisticated crypto scams. This, coupled with a large trading volume that caught the attention of regulators, lead them to take an initially strict stance on cryptocurrency. In fact, from September 2017 through March 2018, both ICOs and the anonymous trading of crypto were banned.

These restrictions saw plenty of subsidiaries and projects heading offshore to Singapore to launch ICOs, although the cost of doing this was prohibitive to startups.

Regulation in the country is starting to thaw, however, and appears to have been an initial reaction to address the rampant problems in the ecosystem, such as scam ICOs, and hacks.

The Korean government recently announced 1 trillion won (USD $880 million) to spend on blockchain development in 2019 as part of a 5 trillion won package to stimulate the economy through innovation.

This is a telling indicator that South Korea is changing its stance and creating a more favorable climate for blockchain technology and the legitimization of cryptocurrency.

Taxation

South Korea has a very high taxation rate. However, since 2013, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are exempt from capital gains tax. This is significant for traders and investors since they can keep 100 percent of their profits. It also makes navigating crypto taxation much more simple. While there are rumors that this tax haven on crypto may be about to change, no official line has been taken.

Head of Analytics at Cindicator Simon Keusen commented that their research indicates that South Korean influence in the global blockchain industry will continue to increase:

“The country is very open to new technology. The enthusiasm for crypto assets is palpable. Latest legislative initiatives show that the government understands the potential of blockchain technology.”

He concluded that:

“South Korea will play an important role in driving the adoption of cryptocurrencies globally.”

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT will develop a blockchain voting system that will go on trial in the private sector in December.

South Korea plans to develop a blockchain voting system, with trials starting next month in the private sector.

The Ministry of Science and ICT, and the National Election Commission (NEC) said they will develop a blockchain-based online voting system by December.

The NEC ran an online voting system, dubbed K-voting, back in 2013, which has since been used by 5.64 million people but trust in the voting system remains low due to hacking and fraud concerns.

The latest system to be developed will apply blockchain in voter authentication and result saving, which will increase transparency and security, the government said.

Voting will be conducted via mobile and personal computers. Data will be saved on a distributed network and all voters will be able to view voting results as they progress.

The system will be used in surveys conducted by Seoul National University’s Blockchain Society and Korea Internet & Security Agency, the country’s internet content watchdog, starting next month.

The NEC will then decide whether the system can be used for online voting after the trials.

It will later add artificial intelligence, big data, and IoT technology to further upgrade voting systems, the NEC said.

Last month, Seoul, the country’s capital, announced that it will create a 100 billion won blockchain fund that will go into promising start-ups in the sector.

In February, the country announced that it would not ban cryptocurrency trading and will increase transparency of transactions. This is despite government’s initial concerns about the risks of cryptocurrency and blockchain.

The South Korean government has since raided and arrested executives of some cryptocurrency exchanges suspected for fraud.

*This post is credited to ZDnet

South Korea has received a great deal of attention for its crypto market. The country’s crypto markets have overcome regulatory issues, the enterprise blockchain space has gained momentum, and many of the country’s citizens support the technology. But, even with such developments, the blockchain sector’s development itself has been a bit quiet. Blocko, the country’s largest blockchain startup, has not received recognition and at this point, the platform is running a more well-known platform, Coinstack, which offers blockchain-as-a-service so that it can help companies integrate the technology into their current system. Coinstack is in the process of transitioning to AERGO, a new platform that will likely provide more publicity.

Blocko is not only focused on theoretical technology – it has applications that are being used by over 25 million individuals worldwide through companies such as Samsung, Lotte, Hyndai, and Credit Suisse. However, the company’s business-facing focus has caused it to not reach its full potential like other platforms have.

The good news is that the platform’s AERGO project and its support for community involvement, things may be changing. AERGO promises to fill the gap between permissioned and public chains and to support various smart contracts, programming language, and consensus mechanisms.

Blocko’s main goal is to promote easier development of enterprise blockchains by making them easier to run and to connect to existing infrastructure. The first stage of the processes focuses on private chains for businesses and it was through Coinstack. Even though the platform experienced success in multiple user cases, the public-private ERGO chain may phase out.

As for Coinstack, its cork blockchain technology is not new, but its approach to development is. The platform markets itself as a “middleware,” which is a bridge technology between an enterprise’s existing infrastructure blockchain technology and dapps. Those who use Coinstack will not only receive access to a blockchain network, but a Software Development Kit (SDK) as well. This makes it easier for developers to build with it and to support APIs that make it easier to move data around. AERGO is poised to add some stellar new features even with those features, Blocko and Coinstack are in a good position because they have been providing accessible and secure solutions to companies that tend to be cautious about approaching an untested technology.

There are 25 million users on Coinstack and its strategy seems to have been working well for it. The platform’s portfolio includes:

  • Lotte Card
  • Korea Exchange
  • Samsung SD/NExledger
  • Voting in Gyeonggi-do

The platform does not reveal much about its technical information because it is a proprietary platform. Generally though, the SDK is developed for a full-stack blockchain solution that branches off the Bitcoin protocol and Ethereum Virtual Machine. The platform also supports programming languages such as Java and Python and the infrastructure varies from application to application. At the point that it is in one place, the Coinstack middleware makes it easier to monitor and develop.

AERGO has been developed to replace and expand Coinstack’s capabilities. Coinstack is a mainly closed-off and custom-built platform. Dissimilarly, AERGO will be open source, it will feature its own chains, hub marketplace, and it will have features that are designed for enterprise use. The platform uses Coinstack as a base, but at the end of the day, it will appear much different when it appears on the market. The platform features a laundry list of interesting post that when combined with Blocko’s previous track record, it shows a positive picture for the platform’s future.

AERGO ultimately hopes to be like Coinstack and to offer businesses the opportunity to build blockchain solutions and to provide an open ecosystem allowing for the development of new technologies and to scale the technology however they like. The project features three specific components: a public chain that acts as the backbone, a blockchain hosting service for building and developing custom chains, and a marketplace to exchange software and computing assets.

  • AERGO ChainThe AERGO Chain is a public chain for the project that runs on a delegated proof-of-stake (DFoS) consensus mechanism that connects everything else built on the AERGO network, from enterprise blockchains to dApps. The platform’s most significant selling point is AERGOSQL, a contract engine that uses the SQL programming language.
  • AERGO HubThe AERGO Hub is a blockchain hosting service that is easy to use and that has a layer of accessibility. The public interface allows other independent blockchains to be built and deployed on the network. Like Coinstack, the chains can be custom-built to be fit-for-purpose, rather than having to follow the same consensus mechanisms as the main chain. The platform supports both RAFT and PBT. Further, the platform is similar to the cloud web services, as it includes development tools and supports those who are interested in building and controlling their own product, without forks or updates.
  • AERGO MarketplaceAERGO Hub allows users to access the marketplace, which is where programs, services, and resources are available to the AERGO ecosystem. It is more than a third-party system for developers to sell their software – it also has a way to buy and sell computing resources and it allows for broad development of an ecosystem.

Overall, AERGO may be a prime replacement for Coinstack. Companies that want to upgrade their existing Coinstack platform to the new version may be able to do so without disruption and it even seems to be backward compatible. Though Coinstack has been primarily for private permission chains with limited functionality, the platform is also open-source and it has a dapp structure that is accommodating and allows anything to be put on the blockchain. The accessible quality for developers and compatibility can be scaled as much as needed, without pumping against the limits that make the public blockchain less practical.

As for Blockco, it has received a good amount of venture capital funds and it is gathering revenue from other ventures as well. As a result, it does not need to stake a great deal on an ICO. Though the platform may at some point start an ICO, there has been no official word on the project. Further, any community contributions will be reviewed by the platform on a case-by-case basis and applicants will be subject to a KYC/AML procedure. And, two large markets, such as the US and China, are not permitted to participate because of regulatory issues.

Once Blocko is established, native tokens will be required for smart contract execution and for performance of other options on the AERGO Chain. As a result, there will be some real-world value. It is not known how many companies are running on Coinstack and how many of them will run on AERGO, but the community initiatives and backwards-compatibility may indicate that the project has a high chance of having enough big names associated with it to provide it some traction.

AERGO’s official mainnet will be online in Q1 of 209, and the Hub and Marketplace will come in Q3 of 2019.

*This post is credited to Bitcoin Exchange Guide

South Korea’s cryptocurrency exchange Zeniex will soon terminate its services due to a recent government crackdown on unauthorized platforms, a post by Zeniex reveals Friday, Nov. 9.

The crypto exchange, a joint project by South Korea and China which opened May 2018, states in the post that due to “recent issues,” they have “come to the conclusion that continuing to operate such a service will be difficult.”

While crypto trading has already stopped on Nov. 9, all other services will be stopped on Nov. 23.

Zeniex customers are asked to withdraw all their cryptocurrencies before the deadline, as the service will then no longer be available.

Furthermore, in a separate announcement, the company states that Zeinex cryptocurrency fund Zxg Crypto Fund No. 1, which in particular has been a subject to local regulator’s investigation, is also closing on Nov. 23. Initially, the company expected its ZXG token to be listed by international exchanges, but then the decision was then cancelled, according to the press release:

“We believe that ZXG Crypto fund No 1. will have difficulties to operate smoothly with such current pressure from the financial authorities.”

Zeinex and its Chinese partner, Genesis Capital, will return the funds invested in ZXG in Ethereum (ETH) on Monday, Nov. 12.

In late October, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) warned investors about investing in unauthorized crypto exchanges and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), as they fail to protect investors from risks according to Korean regulation.

As local finance newspaper Business Korea explained, the notification in particular mentioned Zxg Crypto Fund No. 1. The FSC stressed that the company had never been registered by the Financial Supervisory Service as required by South Korea’s Capital Market Act.

A Zeniex representative told South Korea’s main daily business newspaper, Maeil Business Newspaper, that the company was not obliged to register as it had raised less than 1 billion won ($884,500) in total. However, the FSC started the investigation against the company, citing a lack of ability to check whether the platform is operating as claimed.

Although in early 2018 South Korea was rumored to be about to impose a strong ban on crypto, the country then decided to regulate the area instead. Banning anonymous trading, forbidding minors and government officials from trading, and taxing exchanges substantially were among the measures announced by country’s government to control crypto-related activities. The government has since recently been lobbied by local lawyers to clear up its stance on crypto and elaborate a clear legal framework.

*This post is credited to Cointelegraph

The Government for South Korea has made an agreement to invest over $30 million in the budget for next year for the development of blockchain technology and industry related to distributed ledger tech, South Korea’s largest economic information service company Korea Economic Daily reported earlier in the week.

South Korea’s government had a meeting regarding Ledger tech and the technology behind blockchain with the participation of the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Democratic Party of Korea, the Ministry of Information and Communication and others. The Vice Minister of Health and Welfare announced during the meeting that the ministries came to an agreement to increase the budget for next year by three times to around $35 million.

As mentioned by CoinTelegraph, this year, the Ministry of Science and ICT received over seventy blockchain project application from around 41 institutions selected six final projects for their development in the public sector. For next year, the Ministry aimed to double the volume of selected projects to twelve, with three to four private-led blockchain projects as well.

The Ministry of Information and Communication will be leading the technical verification and consulting services for the blockchain startups next year.

It was mentioned by the second vice minister of the Ministry of Science and ICT that:

“Everyone agrees that the blockchain is a technology [that will] change the future. We basically need to grow in the market […] We will also need institutional and legislative support from the National Assembly [Korean parliament]. I look forward […] for the development of the blockchain industry in Korea.”

Prior to this, an organisation of the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT, the Korea Internet and Security Agency already initially made revealed the plans of the government to spend just under $10 million to spread blockchain projects throughout the public and private sectors.

Last month, the national watchdog also known as Financial Services Commision in South Korea, warned that investing in digital currency funds could be going against the countries Capital Markets Act.

This shows that the country wants to make a bigger deal out of cryptocurrency and blockchain. By putting more money into the budget for blockchain it’s clear that they are eager to see more come from this technology

*This post is credited to Crypto Daily UK