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MAR 8, 2024

Busan at risk of losing its status as blockchain regulation-free zone

by CoinNess Global

Nearly five years have passed since South Korea’s second-largest city Busan was designated as a blockchain regulation-free zone (blockchain zone) in July 2019. This designation has allowed blockchain companies to run their businesses within the region’s regulatory sandbox, freely exploring the potential of the cutting-edge industry. Busan is the only city in Korea to have won the bid for running more than two regulation-free blockchain projects approved by the SME ministry. However, Busan city may soon lose its status as the blockchain zone, unless it develops and attracts new blockchain-related businesses, local news media KBS News reported.
The city has been struggling to attract new blockchain businesses after its 10-month-long preparation to enact a law, which would have enabled startups to enroll in indemnity insurance, resulted in failure.  

Blockchain startups on the brink of closing its services 

Among the blockchain companies operating in the blockchain zone is Busan Blockchain Real-estate Investment Currency (BBRIC), which allows users to invest in real estate with a budget as small as KRW 1,000 ($0.75). Park Hyo-jin, Vice CEO of Sejong Telecom operating BBRIC, expressed his concerns in an interview with KBS News, saying that the termination of the city’s status as the blockchain zone would make it difficult for BBRIC to continue its services.
Another blockchain startup in the region’s blockchain zone emphasized the importance of maintaining the city’s status in an interview with the press. Kim Yong-gil, the chief research officer at a blockchain-driven solution firm, said the company he’s working for was able to lay the foundation for its business growth after it was selected as one of the first companies to operate within the blockchain zone in 2019. The company currently aims to expand its distribution business from fisheries to coffee industry. 
At the moment, 43 blockchain companies like these are operating their offices at the Busan International Finance Center (BIFC). Among 15 of them have relocated to Busan from the outside region to benefit from the sandbox. Busan’s loss of its status would also result in these companies leaving. 

Busan’s desperate bid to retain its status as blockchain zone 

To retain the blockchain startups, the Busan government must maintain its status as the blockchain zone by getting permission to extend the designation period. Kwon Ki-kwang, Head of the Blockchain Regulation-free Zone team at Busan Technopark – a public foundation that supports SMEs – stated that it is looking for businesses specialized in blockchain technology, including those focused on blockchain-driven voting systems. 
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