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Samsung & Other S Korean Companies Make Blockchain, Crypto VC Push

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Some of South Korea’s biggest companies are investing in domestic blockchain and cryptocurrency startups – with the Seoul government also looking to get in on the action.

Source: iStock/Im Yeongsik

Although it may come as no surprise to hear how keen on blockchain the likes of Samsung, Kakao and LG are, all three companies have also been active behind the scenes – investing in blockchain firms through their respective venture capital arms.

Banks like KEB Hana, Shinhan and Woori have also moved into blockchain investment – in addition to their own blockchain business commercialization efforts.

Per a report from Fn News, some recent investment highlights include the following:

  • LB Investment (formerly known as LG Venture Investment) has taken part in Series B investment in domestic blockchain firm Blocko.
  • Samsung’s investment arm Samsung Next’s portfolio includes blockchain-powered video platform Theta Labs and cryptocurrency wallet ZenGo.
  • KB Bank’s KB Investment has invested in cryptocurrency trading platform Heybit and blockchain-based, cloud computing company AI Network.
  • KEB Hana’s Hana Ventures has also invested in AI Network, as well as blockchain company Common Computer.
  • Shinhan’s Shinhan Investment has put funds into blockchain-powered real estate platform Kasa Korea.

Other investors include the likes of Kakao’s Kakao Investment and Woori Bank’s Woori Technology Invetment – investors in blockchain companies such as Terra and Tempco. The latter also last year became the first Asian blockchain company to receive investment from a conventional VC company (namely Korea Investment Partners).

Exchanges are also keen on blockchain investment – Bithumb operator BTC Korea and Dunamu (the operator of Upbit) also have growing blockchain investment portfolios.

Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan City government has announced that it is hoping to open a Blockchain Support Center in the affluent Mapo district next month. A 2,014 sqm property is being developed, with office space to be provided for tenant blockchain startups.

The development is part of a USD 84 million blockchain investment promised by the Seoul government between 2019 and 2022. Per a Paxnet report, the choice of the Mapo district was strategic as some of the country’s top universities have campuses nearby. The area is also a thriving business district.

A spokesperson stated, “We will provide customized accelerator services and good conditions for development for blockchain companies.”