South Korea’s dominance in the traditional finance sector has been much less pronounced than its neighboring economies of Japan and China. However, the country is surging ahead with the world’s new cryptographic financial system catalyzed by the government’s forbearing stance on the digital asset class.
Korea’s Cryptocurrency Influence
In the cryptocurrency sector, Korea’s influence is remarkably observable, as the country accounts for the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency market by volume. Additionally, Korea’s regulations seemingly cause a ripple effect of buying/selling at exchanges, wholly driven by the vast number of traders in the country.
While the Korean government is criticized for its strict digital asset regulations, they seem primed to develop legislation in 2018.
In June 2018, Korea’s top court recognized cryptocurrencies as an “asset with measurable value.”
The country’s blockchain experts called out the unfortunate decision of banning ICO firms in May 2018, as several Korean businesses moved to the “crypto-friendly” nations of Singapore and Switzerland, in turn boosting their economies by a small fraction. Fortunately, the government recognized the economic implications of their move and introduced a proposal to allow domestic ICOs on May 29.
Eric van Miltenburg, Senior Vice President of operations at Ripple, said:
“Regulations should protect consumers and businesses. I see a parallel between the current cryptocurrency boom and the early stages of the internet boom in the early 2000s.”
Van Miltenburg added that governments need to “focus more on the positive impact” other than the negatives, and realize the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
Ripple Urges Protective Regulations
Members of the broader cryptocurrency community criticize the blockchain-based payments processor for its centralized approach to a decentralized system. However, Ripple continues to make moves in the blockchain sector by signing significant partnerships with major banking institutions.
Now, the company is pursuing regulations from governments around the world. While the move is arguably for personal benefits, regulations will work towards the greater good of the cryptocurrency sector.
In an interview with Korea Times, Van Miltenburg stated:
“But a more powerful approach was looking at specific use cases and applying regulations in areas that would allow protection for users. So I think that philosophy would certainly pertain to regulations in Korea as well.”
Ripple Invests in Blockchain Education
As reported by BTCManager on June 5, Ripple announced a donation of $50 million to 17 universities around the world. However, only Korea University makes the list from all East Asian nations.
As part of the “University Blockchain Research Initiative” (UBRI), partner universities receive grants from Ripple to support technological development, academic research, technical development and foster innovation in cryptocurrencies, digital payments, and the blockchain ecosystem.
The UBRI claims to let partner universities to determine their topic for research, to avoid possibly any allegations of the research pertaining solely to Ripple Labs. According to Van Miltenburg, the initiative aims to stimulate innovation and understanding and innovation in blockchain technology.
Van Miltenburg said:
“Ripple decided to work with universities as it thought the practical use of blockchain technology was not widespread yet.”
Reportedly, Korea University has displayed keenness in exploring blockchain technology. In May 2018, the university’s technology arm launched a blockchain security study center. Now, the university aims to use Ripple’s grants to study the safety of the algorithms behind the technology.
(Source: Studies Abroad)