Conglomerate First in Race to Launch Own Cryptocurrency



The investment arm of one of South Korea’s biggest conglomerates is to issue its own cryptocurrency in a move that could trigger a domino effect.

SK Square, part of the SK Group, South Korea’s third-largest business, will launch its native token within a year. The company is also working on a blockchain service to help its partners with crypto issuance.

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The announcement means SK Group becomes the first South Korean conglomerate, known as a chaebol, to issue crypto.

It is widely believed that SK Square’s native cryptocurrency will be deployed on Ifland, the metaverse platform. Yoo Young-sang, SK Telecom’s CEO, said at the Mobile World Congress that the company “will introduce its own blockchain-based economic system to Ifland.”

The digital coin will be exchangeable not only for virtual goods in SK Telecom’s metaverse digital space but also for real-life items on the group’s e-commerce and streaming platforms.

“SK Square wants to create and grow its own cryptocurrency ecosystem within the group, rather than just introducing its crypto to be used for some of its services,” a source told The Korea Economic Daily

“Since ICOs are banned in South Korea at present, SK will likely consider going abroad for an ICO, or taking a wait and see attitude to monitor domestic regulatory changes,” he said. 

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South Korea is the world’s third-largest crypto market

South Korea’s cryptocurrency usage has grown astronomically in the last two years. Around 10% of the country’s population is invested in cryptocurrencies and the country is estimated to be the world’s third-largest market.

The country has recently elected a pro-crypto president who has pledged to overhaul the country’s cryptocurrency regulations. The president said his administration will adopt a negative regulation system to enable the country to become a haven for crypto.

South Korea is taking big strides in the metaverse, too. An ambitious plan to invest $187 million in a national metaverse project was announced recently and is expected to have a global reach beyond the borders of Asia.

South Korea’s cryptocurrency trading market reached 55.2 trillion won ($45 billion) last year, according to the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit. 

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