South Korea Pledges $186.7M to Create National Metaverse Ecosystem

South Korea’s metaverse ecosystem will support corporate and digital content growth in the country.
Image source: Daniel Bernard on Unsplash

Quick take:

  • The metaverse ecosystem is named ‘Expanded Virtual World’.
  • South Korea’s metaverse will be a platform for expanding the virtual growth of cities, education and media.
  • South Korea’s Ministry of ICT, Science, and Future Planning will host activities, a metaverse developer contest and a hackathon to attract talents.

South Korea’s Ministry of ICT, Science, and Future Planning has allocated $186.7 million to create the country’s metaverse ecosystem, named ‘Expanded Virtual World’.

According to an official statement published on Sunday, the ministry stated that funds will be spent on four main objectives in the creation of the metaverse ecosystem. The country’s metaverse will be a platform that supports the virtual growth of cities, education and media.

To attract top talents to help build the metaverse, the ministry will host community-oriented creative activities, a metaverse developer contest and a hackathon.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Hashed CEO Simon Kim said that the metaverse platform is particularly focused on boosting commercial growth by providing participants with financial support. He adds that there isn’t a problem with the government funding metaverse activities as the private sector is already heavily investing in the metaverse market. 

“It is the regulatory issue that the government should pay more attention to. In Korea, publishing of NFT games is prohibited, and token issuance is also prohibited,” Kim said.

A South Korean crypto ecosystem venture capital and incubator, Hashed has invested in metaverse platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox. In December, the venture firm raised $200 million dedicated to investments in Web3 projects.

Co-founder of multichain ecosystem accelerator DeSpread, Jason Ye, thinks that the government’s new funding of the metaverse is a “positive signal”. 

He told Cointelegraph that opportunists who attempt to exploit the large funding “should be filtered out”, but “outstanding companies building a digital economy in the metaverse will be able to thrive with the Korean government’s support”.

The ministry’s head of communication and policy department, Park Yungyu, said in the announcement that this metaverse ecosystem initiative is part of a broader “Digital New Deal” in South Korea. 

The Digital New Deal is a set of policies that aims to foster the growth of digital technologies in the country. “It is important to create a world-class metaverse ecosystem as the starting point to intensively foster a new hyper-connected industry,” Park added.

After South Korea revealed its plans to become one of the largest metaverse markets by 2026, the North Gyeongsang Province has declared its aim to create a “provincial metaverse” for 10 million people by 2026. 

According to The Korean Herald, the provincial government said it has formed a Metaverse Alliance to include some 50 companies and 40 universities in and outside of the province, joining hands to strengthen ties between the private and public sectors.

The provincial government has also formed a metaverse advisory group comprising some 40 experts from various fields and sectors, including culture, industries and education to come up with strategic tasks and share information about the development of the province’s metaverse.

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