A senior South Korean government official has joined the research offshoot of blockchain VC Hashed. Kim Yong-beom is a well-known figure in his homeland, where he held the role of Vice Minister of the Korea Ministry of Economy and Finance up until last year. Since stepping down from the role, which had included liaising with domestic crypto companies, Yong-beom has elected to enter crypto in an advisory capacity. Now, he’s flying the flag for the industry he once helped regulate.
Government Minister Bigs up Blockchain
It should come as no surprise that a Korean government official should endorse blockchain technology since leaving office; the country is, after all, the most tech-friendly nation in the world. Not only is Seoul the esports capital of the world, but Korea’s 5G adoption and high-speed internet are the stuff of legend. All of which makes for fertile soil for blockchain and crypto adoption.
Kim Yong-beom isn’t joining Hashed’s research division to shill tokens or force blockchain into things that don’t require it, by the way. Rather, he’s taking a long view, and sees the potential for the technology to power his country’s economy for decades to come. In the 90s, South Korea gained ground on Japan’s electronics manufacturing industry as the likes of Samsung muscled onto the scene and grew into a tech giant.
Many in South Korea believe that the same can occur with blockchain adoption, enabling the country to future-proof itself and ride the next tech wave. “Since working as a senior economist at the World Bank in early 2000, I have thought about the possibility of Korea ascending as a global economic powerhouse based on new technology,” explains Yong-beom. “After stepping down from public office early last year, I heard about Korea’s competitiveness in blockchain and the digital economy when meeting with young talents.”
One of those meetings was at Korea Blockchain Week, which Hashed co-hosted, and it’s believed the event paved the way for Yong-beom taking up his advisory role with Hashed Open Research. The organization will lead the way on research into the underlying technology itself as well as investigating ways in which it can be more broadly adopted.
From Seoul to Silicon Valley
While Kim Yong-beom’s Hashed appointment is a big deal for the country’s blockchain scene, it could also have greater ramifications. Parent company Hashed has a presence not only in Seoul but also in Silicon Valley, where founder Simon Kim can often be found. The VC firm has written checks for a string of US-based blockchain startups and boasts a web3-heavy portfolio that includes The Sandbox, Aptos, and Archway.
“Korea can potentially become a G2 with the US in the digital sector if proper regulations are billed and applied,” predicts Yong-beom. “It is encouraging that the new Korean government has selected the ‘Regulation for Basic Digital Assets’ as a national task and is speeding up institutionalization.” The Hashed Open Research advisor believes his organization can “provide a constructive dialogue between blockchain experts and government authorities through public seminars.”