Night traffic speeds through an intersection in Seoul, Korea
Night traffic speeds through an intersection in Seoul, Korea.

South Korea, the country looking to put trade finance on the blockchain by 2021, was the host of one of the most anticipated blockchain events of the year, Korea Blockchain Week, from Sep. 27 to Oct. 4.

The event, held in Seoul, saw the participation of many prominent figures and startups in the blockchain and crypto space, such as Ethereum’s creator Vitalik Buterin, serial investor Mike Novogratz, blockchain startup Terra, and Hdac Technology, the issuer of the Hyundai token (HDAC).

The future of blockchain

Speaking at the event, Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin gave his opinion on the future of blockchain technology, various blockchain applications, and the need for grants to open source projects.

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Vitalik Buterin at Korea Blockchain Week 2019

Algorand’s co-founder Silvio Micali also gave his opinion on the future of blockchain technology, explaining how blockchain technology could help remove intermediaries in finance.

“Korea runs on Terra”

The star of the show was the Korean startup Terra, which made some big announcements during its presentation at the D.FINE conference, the main event of Korea Blockchain Week.

It was made clear that the startup was planning to expand its reach throughout Korea with its payment dapp CHAI. It was not only announced that the application will be collaborating with BCcard, Korea’s largest payments processor, in order to create a new debit card called the “CHAI card”, but that it will also enable offline payments through a partnership with CU, Korea’s largest convenience store chain with over 14,000 retail stores all over the country.

In addition to these two partnerships, Korea’s number one hospitality app with over 10 million users, Yanojla, will also allow its users to pay through the CHAI app.

Last but not least, Terra announced a partnership with Shinsegae (SSG) Duty Free. Though this is the first venture of Terra outside of Korea, the partnership will enable global payments in Hong Kong via a new localized DApp called “CHAI DF”.

Hdac and the Friday project

The D.FINE conference also saw a presentation by Hdac, the blockchain arm of South Korea’s largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group. During the event, the company announced it has initiated development of a new blockchain project called “Friday”.

This new blockchain will be PoS-based (Proof-of-Stake), as the company considers it will be better suited for an IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystem.

Hdac plans to have a testnet launched by November, and a mainnet ready by the first quarter of 2020.

Dae Sun Chung, Hdac’s founder, reportedly said:

“Hdac aims to provide enterprise solution with better security by integrating blockchain technology with IoT, big data, and cloud, which are driving forces of the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With the development of new blockchain, Hdac will be reformed as a blockchain platform better optimized for the IoT environment and payment services.”

The company has also stated that it will create a Blockchain Fund Expansion plan, and invest at least $10 million, in order to support the creation of a testnet and mainnet fully capable of supporting a DApp ecosystem.

The failure of altcoins

CEO of Galaxy Digital Holdings Mike Novogratz was harsh on the altcoin market, essentially portraying most of them as trash:

“There were a lot of junks that raised a lot of capital but did not have sustainability. They promised a lot of protocols and an ecosystem they are going to build, and then they would attract users to the ecosystem making it a speculative asset. In order to keep a speculative market alive, you need fuel in the form of news and updates from time to time.  We must look at these tokens as venture bets.”

Summary

With Terra’s optimistic plans and global crypto leaders willing to express their opinions on the current state of the blockchain industry, Korea has confirmed its hospitality towards the sector.

On one final positive note, Thomas Lee, a managing partner at Fundstrat, argued of Bitcoin and S&P 500’s close link, theorizing that if the S&P curve breaks out, Bitcoin might see a growth spur.

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