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Jeju Island, South Korea, Eyes NFT-powered Growth

Jeju Island, situated as a subtropical province off the southern coast of the South Korean mainland, has expressed its intention to leverage non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to revolutionize its economy.

Reported by CNB News, the island, characterized by its distinct legal and administrative status, aims to harness NFTs to stimulate growth across various sectors, including tourism, agriculture, livestock, and fisheries.

Jeju Island Revamps Crypto Hopes?

Jeju officials have been actively pursuing the integration of cryptocurrency-driven initiatives into the island’s legal framework since 2018. Despite these efforts, little progress has been made thus far. Seoul has maintained a firm stance against initial coin offerings (ICOs), play-to-earn games, and the regulation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

However, there are signs that politicians are now poised to make a renewed push for change in Jeju.

Governor Oh Young-hoon of Jeju Island addressed attendees at an IT-related forum this week, stating, “This year, we are gradually making preparations to focus on digital transformation, with the core of all this being Web3. We can apply Web3, including the use of NFTs, to all areas of the government, marking a significant step forward.”

Governor Oh further noted that provincial officials and private sector representatives are actively engaged in discussions to advance these initiatives collaboratively. He emphasized, “We have set the goal of transforming Jeju into an ‘NFT city.’ We are even exploring methods to facilitate convenient payments for both South Korean and international visitors across all locations in Jeju.”

How Could NFTs Help Boost Jeju Economy?

Oh proposed that NFT technology could play a pivotal role in Jeju Island’s pursuit of this objective. Kwon Soo-ho, the head of the Korea Blockchain Industry Promotion Association’s educational operations, echoed this sentiment, asserting that blockchain technology and NFTs could be integrated across various sectors in Jeju.

Representatives from the Jeju Research Institute, Jeju Creative Economy Innovation Center, and other pertinent organizations also participated in the event.

Kwon emphasized that NFT-driven innovations could be effectively implemented across diverse fields in Jeju, such as enhancing payment systems and ensuring traceability in the agricultural and livestock industries.

Moreover, attendees brainstormed ideas for leveraging NFTs along the Jeju Olle Trail, a renowned 437 km network of footpaths along the island’s coastline, popular among both domestic and international tourists. Suggestions included rewarding hikers and walkers with discount-granting NFTs upon completion of specific segments of the trail.

Other speakers at the event proposed utilizing NFTs to stimulate sales and provide subsidies within the agriculture and fisheries sectors.

Furthermore, they suggested that officials could leverage NFTs to assist Jeju producers in verifying the authenticity of their goods and food products. Notably, Jeju is renowned for its delicacies, including pork products from Jeju Black pigs and the hallabong, a citrus fruit closely related to the satsuma.

Additionally, attendees discussed the potential use of NFTs in currency exchange and payment processes within Jeju. There was also renewed discussion about implementing blockchain-powered “local currency” vouchers, also known as local stablecoins, which could be tied to the fiat Korean won (KRW). Officials proposed that these vouchers could be utilized to offer subsidies and bolster community spending at local establishments.

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