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BY CNA Team - August 14, 2018

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Jeju’s governor proposes that Seoul allow ICOs on the island

South Korea's Jeju province looking to host ICO hub
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The governor of the semi-autonomous South Korean province of Jeju, Won Hee-ryong, is proposing to make the province, which is made up of the island of Jeju, into a blockchain hub allowing initial coin offerings (ICOs).

He is said to have formally requested that the island be designated a special zone for blockchain and cryptocurrency on Aug 8 during a meeting with central government officials, Korea Joongang Daily says in a report dated Aug 13.

The media outlet reports that Won is proposing that blockchain start ups be free to hold initial coin offerings (ICOs) to fund their projects.

“Blockchain is an opportunity for Korea to take the lead in global internet platform [development,]” he says, also proposing that the Seoul, the provincial government and the private sector form a task force to discuss how the island can become a blockchain hub.

Jeju’s provincial capital, also named Jeju, is already being developed as the “Jeju Free International City,” and Won pointed out that this initiative could help Seoul in implementing necessary measures, including drastic deregulation, that will help develop the blockchain space.

“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,” Won said. “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].”

Won wants blockchain start ups to be free to conduct ICOs to fund their projects.

“Entrepreneurs looking to innovate should be allowed to raise funds through cryptocurrency,” he says, adding that this could entice South Korean blockchain start ups to start fundraising locally instead of going to Switzerland or Singapore where regulations were friendlier.

Korea Joongang Daily says while the government has not banned ICOs outright, it has designated them as a “fund-raising activity without permission” last year, making them essentially illegal.

Won, who was recently victorious in the governor’s race held on June 13, told voters that he supported the island’s firms that wanted to hold ICOs to fund their projects.

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