Asian Crypto Valley — South Korea, Thailand, Or The Philippines?
South Korea, which is on its way to the cryptocurrency market regulation and development, is ready to become an Asian crypto Mecca. At least, this is what crypto enthusiasts from the Korean Blockchain Association (KBA) are planning. But how quickly will it come true? Interestingly, that it is South Korea that feeds such ambitious plans, not Japan. The reason is a special attitude towards the crypto industry.
— Japan considers digital currencies primarily as a convenient way to pay for goods and services, not as a tool for innovations. It explains the popularity of cryptocurrencies in Japan. As we know, Bitcoin is recognized as a means of payment there, while low commissions make it attractive for ordinary users.
— The Japanese government applies strict cryptocurrency market regulation rules. Due to them the Japanese crypto market works as a well-adjusted mechanism. Yet, there are some difficulties. For instance, traders must pay high taxes, and exchanges must provide detailed reports.
— The local media shapes the attitude of the Japanese society to the crypto sphere. The constant focus on negative aspects undermines public confidence in cryptocurrencies.
The initiatives of crypto enthusiasts and the willingness of the state determine how quickly digital progress will move across the country. Japan possesses all of these. However, South Korea has a chance to get ahead in terms of the blockchain technology development because it is one of the four strongest Asian economies and is placed 11th in the world. The only question is whether the country will follow the path chosen in 2018.
Plans and prospects of South Korea
In the summer of 2018, Oh Jung-geun, the head of the Korean Blockchain Association announced his intention to create a Korean version of the Crypto Valley. He was inspired by the success of Malta, which is called the Crypto Island, and the Swiss city of Zug, where the Crypto Valley Association is based. Oh Jung-geun made the statement at the Global Blockchain Conference held on July 14 in Seoul. It is assumed that the new blockchain center called Crypto Beach will be located in the tourist district of Busan.
The idea sounds promising considering the fact that the Korean government is going to lift the ICO ban imposed in 2017. The ban only led to the leak of investments and skill drain abroad. It is unprofitable for the state to lose profits, thus in the spring of 2018, the government came up with the idea to solve this issue by reconsidering the law.
The main deterrent now is the lack of a legal framework for the ICO regulation — it all depends on the government. Perhaps, once this question is solved, the Crypto Beach project will be developed. Until then it is just an idea. Anyway, Koreans should hurry, because the Philippines and Thailand breathe down the neck.
Competitors are always vigilant
Since the beginning of 2018, Thailand has shown an increasingly loyal attitude to the crypto sector. In the spring, the government presented a legislative framework for the cryptocurrency market regulation. The local regulator TSEC has specified seven cryptocurrencies that can be used in local businesses. Despite the fact that the legal framework is not sufficiently detailed, this is definitely a breakthrough. In addition, the country actively uses blockchain at the state level, in the banking and taxation systems. Besides, Thailand is one of the countries that used blockchain technology in the voting system.
The situation in the Philippines is even more interesting. There is the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), a special economic zone. In August 2018, CEZA representatives reported that they intend to set up an Asian crypto center at the northern end of Luzon, the biggest island in the Philippines. The project was called the Crypto Valley of Asia (CVA). The organizers are ready to invest $100 million in its development. According to preliminary estimates, CVA will create 10,000 new jobs.
As you can see, Korean crypto enthusiasts are not the only ones who want to repeat the success of Zug. Moreover, the Filipinos are much closer to the intended goal. So if the Koreans will continue to delay, the title of the Asian crypto leader can go to the Philippines. We can only keep an eye on the discussion of the law on cryptocurrency and the boom of the crypto industry in Asia.