South Korea’s government is reportedly exploring a $400 million blockchain R&D fund to boost its emerging digital economy and stay apace with China’s growing dominance in the sector.

According to ZDNet Korea, the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology will at the end of the month decide on whether to move forward with a planned KRW 480 billion (~ $400M) blockchain R&D fund.

Recommendations from the “Development of Blockchain Technology for the Data Economy” feasibility study are expected at the end of May. If approved, the $400 million war chest will be spent over five years, starting in 2021.

The planned R&D fund is part of South Korea’s broader “Data Economy Revitalization” plan. Authorities in the country reportedly view blockchain as the base layer of the emerging digital economy.

Thus, South Korea wants to invest funds in boosting its blockchain technology capabilities. Given China’s accelerated adoption efforts, the government reportedly wants the country’s domestic blockchain space to catch up with Beijing’s efforts.

Continue reading below

For commentators like Yong-beom Park of Dankook University, government participation is vital for blockchain development in South Korea. Back in October 2019, BeInCrypto reported that ICON could benefit from South Korea following China’s lead in pursuing aggressive blockchain adoption.” Indeed, South Korea’s growing digital economy has hit a few bumps in the last few years, stemming from stricter government policies.

Tweeting about the news, Min Kim, founder of ICON (ICX) — South Korea’s largest coin — expressed hope that the project would feature in the government’s plans.