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Yeosijae Chairman Lee Hun-jai: “Blockchain expected to offer new types of service jobs”

A “Blockhain Q&A with Governments, Corporations and Citizens” was held Aug. 7 at the Hashed Lounge in Gangnam, southern Seoul. What’s going on in “regulation-free” Busan? The Q&A was attended by DP Party Kim Young-choon and Busan City Vice Mayor Yoo Jae-soo, so naturally the discussion’s focus was Busan city. “From the government’s perspective, the regulation-free blockchain zone was a risky project—there was a lot of hardship in the process in getting Busan on the list,” said Kim. “More blockchain projects will come in the future within the boundaries that can be understood by the public. I believe starting from blockchain technology, we can gradually touch on cryptocurrency as well.” General direction was discussed as well, as in how Busan is to be a blockchain city. “Sejong and Busan are designated as smart cities in Korea—blockchain policies will be realized in line with this smart city initiative,” said Vice Mayor Yoo, suggesting other ongoing city plans will be related. “Government policies on blockchain are mostly negative, but I believe Busan will play an important role in resolving that. Busan is also a city with a developed movie industry, so we’re planning on blockchain-based content projects. At the moment, we’re devising projects that are centered on blockchain, not cryptocurrency.” Cryptocurrency = blockchain? During the Q&A, there was a discussion on whether cryptocurrency and blockchain can be equated. “It depends on how you define cryptocurrency. A public blockchain would have to give out rewards for verification, so its definition would be a tricky one from the government’s view,” said ICON CEO Kim Jong-hyup. “But in case of corporate blockchain, it’s easier. When we talk about cryptocurrency and blockchain we need a sophisticated examination of different blockchain types.” Blockchains generate jobs? Yeosijae Chairman Lee Hun-jai’s comment sparked a discussion on jobs. “The invention of the spinning machine in the Industrial Revolution gave rise to many concerns, but on the contrary, it created a greater number of jobs,” Lee said. “Service jobs in forms unseen in the past are appearing—I think one realm may be blockchain.” “A lot of experts forecast that the number of jobs will plummet in the future,” said Hashed CEO Kim Seo-joon. “Some worry that platform polarization will reduce jobs—as YouTubers are not YouTube employees and Uber drivers are not Uber staff. I believe there indeed will be fewer jobs in the real world, but in the virtual world, we’ll see more job creation. The reason I jumped into blockchain was because of the new experiments going on in relation to governance. I personally believe blockchain will lead a paradigm shift.” Should blockchain be regulated? For the private sector, the most sensitive blockchain issue would be regulation. A score of industry insiders, government officials and lawmakers offer various opinions on the matter. “ICON is holding a collaboration project with Seoul City. They’re considering ways to adopt blockchain identification on their ID cards and connect it to ZeroPay,” he said. “We need more open-door government policies, like allowing a fast-track process for sandbox businesses.” “Some claim that the government should license cryptocurrency exchanges. It may be frustrating for those working in the industry, but the Korean government independently giving out licenses is a risky move at a time when international agreements on cryptocurrency are unsettled,” said DP Party Lawmaker Min Byung-doo. “It’s a question that we shouldn’t approach hastily, but step by step.”

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