Since the beginning of 2018, blockchain technology, and its embedded concepts, have been held in high regard by global economic markets, with countries around the world competing to conduct meaningful and commercially-applicable research and development into the emerging technology, which is widely touted as a leap forward from traditional computational models, security, and network architecture. Among the many distinguished features of blockchain, the enshrinement of trust into its core mechanism, alongside its exceptionally well-developed security protocols, are the most praised. National governments and international organisations have recognised blockchain’s potential as a powerful boost for institutions to improve the transparency of their public affairs, and as a bulwark to assist in the development and maintenance of public services. Blockchain has quickly spread since its inception in 2007, becoming a truly global phenomenon. Twelve years later, the world looks to the future, paying close attention to the application and development of blockchain technology.
After surveying 200 government leaders in 16 countries, IBM’s Institute for Business Value Research published a blockchain study report titled “Building Government Trust”, which shows that by 2018, 90% of governmental organisations plan to invest in blockchain technology.
The US government, for instance, has taken rather a shine to blockchain, undertaking several blockchain exploration and application projects on a broad and deep scale, including for purposes of government procurement, contract reviews, governmental data protection, and distributed network security. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently released a draft report entitled “Research on Blockchain Technology”, focusing on the blockchain technology that supports Bitcoin and other digital currencies, its widespread use, and the future of the industry of cryptocurrency, which has boomed as a new industry of financial service. The European Union (EU) is also seeking to push blockchain legislation through its national parliaments, and to introduce policy surrounding the use and applications of the security technology it provides across its member states. In April 2018, 22 out of 27 European Union countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands, signed a statement announcing the establishment of a new European blockchain partnership. Such cooperation would “turn the huge potential of blockchain into better civic service”.
Chinese government policy has already expressed strong support for the application of blockchain technology to serve the Chinese economy. As early as December 2016, the “13th Five-Year National Informationisation Plan” issued by the State Council listed blockchain, together with big data, artificial intelligence, machine deep learning, and other technologies, as national priorities, with blockchain technology taking centre stage as the key area of interest. Recently, China has begun to set up a national standard for blockchain to promote the construction of a national blockchain standard system, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. As head of the third-largest national economy in the world, Japan’s government and society have a positive attitude towards the development of blockchain and digital currencies. In addition to Bitcoin, blockchain technology in Japan has many application cases in other industries, such as real estate deposit certificates, identity authentication, supply chain finance, clearing and settlement.
The South Korean government has been highly influential within the development of blockchain technology across Asia, embracing digital currencies as new pillars of financial security – the second most-used currency in South Korea today is Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market share. The Bank of Korea (KOB) reported that the potential risks of digital assets to domestic financial institutions are relatively limited, provided there is some degree of regulation, and the cryptocurrency market will not pose a threat to traditional local financial markets due to its far-removed nature from traditional financial methods. Perhaps as a result of this, several regional cryptocurrencies have been created, including Gyeongbuk Coin, which was launched by the Gyeongsangbuk-do region and has received widespread approval and funding by the national government to the tune of ₩100bn (USD$100m) per year. The volume of these transactions match the similar existing provincial “Hometown Love Gift Cards” payment system.
In order to promote the development of the blockchain industry, the South Korean government has provided significant support. The fourth Industrial Revolution Committee of the South Korean National Assembly mentioned in a report that “Blockchain is the next generation of the Internet, thus it is necessary to vigorously develop the South Korean blockchain industry.” It is reported that the budget for blockchain pilot projects in South Korea in 2018 was ₩4.2bn, with investment for each individual project costing between ₩750-900mn. It is worth noting that the South Korean government recently announced a plan to revise its current tax policy to expand benefits and implement tax breaks for companies focused on developing emerging technologies such as blockchain, an initiative undoubtedly designed to promote innovation and development of blockchain projects. In addition, the South Korean Ministry of Science and Technology announced a major blockchain technology development strategy in June 2018, with the goal of raising ₩230bn (USD$207mn) for blockchain projects by 2022. According to the Ministry’s official statement, this new initiative will train 10,000 professionals in the blockchain industry and support 100 companies, and will expand and commercialise six existing blockchain pilot projects with the full support of the South Korean government.
Additionally, the 6th Global Leaders Forum, held in Seoul in November 2018, invited the world’s leading political and business elites to participate in discussions surrounding the development of blockchain technologies across the whole of Asia according to shared key strategic values – including President Ilves of Estonia; Amazon co-founder Johnathan Kochme; South Korea Blockchain Association President Dae Je Chin; Bitcoin Foundation Chairman Brock Pierce; and, of course, LINFINITY CEO Anndy Lian. Gyeongsangbuk-do province is at the centre of this blockchain-based invigoration of the South Korean digital economy. On November 14th 2018, the province established the “Gyeongsangbuk-do Blockchain Special Committee”, which aims to establish a blockchain centre in the region and attract investment in blockchain-related business. The committee is comprised of 40 people, including top project sponsors, founders and leaders of blockchain industries, such as Brock Pierce, Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation; Jeffrey Jones, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea; Jonathan Kochmer, former Information Architect of Amazon and Director of Business Development of RChain Cooperative; Annastasiah Mhaka, Co-Founder of the Alliance for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare (AAIH) and Anndy Lian, CEO of LINFINITY.
This major event shows how South Korea is beginning its efforts in earnest to develop a more inclusive and technology-oriented market for digital currency and blockchain projects, as well as for broader financial technology projects, and by helming these projects has cemented their place as a key nation of cryptocurrency early-adopters.
Mr. Lian, as LINFINITY CEO, is committed to embedding blockchain technology into the supply chain industry, and affirmed South Korea’s current blockchain policy support. He pointed out that the development of blockchain relies on the efforts of the political, academic and business communities, asserting that traditional industries in Korea, such as skin care, have always been at the forefront of innovation, ahead of Western competitors, and, with blockchain, rather than be badly hit, will flourish just as rapidly as before. At the same time, blockchain serves as a clear method to combat the problem of counterfeit goods, which is a particular pain point for the cosmetics industry, causing harm not only to consumers, but also to industry and brand trust. The regaining of consumer trust by eradicating this problem entirely is perhaps the biggest reason why LINFINITY has such an interest in the healthcare and cosmetic industry.
LINFINITY is committed to building a trustworthy business ecosystem for industrial supply chains. The core of its anti-counterfeiting traceability technology is to use blockchain to on-chain “supply chain information” to ensure the transparency and security of entire supply chains. This provides a transparent solution to the problem of ensuring authenticity in these affected industries, and allows for the effective delivery of data in traditional supply chains, promoting consumers’ understanding and trust in goods and building up trust bonds between enterprise, merchants and consumers. The latest commercial achievement of LINFINITY is DApp, a mobile app which tracks every link any given supply chain in its entirety. Currently, LINFINITY’s goal is to first apply DApp to Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) specialising in Fast Moving Consumer Goods(FMCG), with the overarching aim to apply the same principles to other areas.
For now, LINFINITY Dapp beta 1.0 has been officially launched, and it has successfully helped Singapore’s well-known Lingzhi health care brand Scientific Tradition and Japanese hair care brand Herbriller to achieve real-time records of raw materials, origin, production date, batch number, logistics flow, distribution channels, etc., set up a decentralized information management system, and successfully complete the information on-chaining work. With its recent announcement of listing its token on Coinfinit, LINFINITY is expanding its business footprints in South Korea and contributing its efforts to the commercialisation of blockchain technology.