Korea’s Biggest Actor Invests in Crypto and That’s a Big Deal for Asian Markets
Originally published on: CCN
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March 13, 2019
Bae Yong-joon, arguably the most influential and widely recognized actor in South Korea featured in films like Winter Sonata and The Legend, invested in a local crypto startup called Seamon.
Importance of a Public Figure Investing in the Crypto Space in South Korea
According to Hankyoreh, a mainstream media outlet in South Korea, Seamon is co-founded by the Norway-based Ocean Supreme, the most dominant company in the Japanese Salmon market.
Ocean Supreme exports sashimi-quality Salmon from Norway to Japan, generating $150 million in annual turnover, purely from Salmon sales.
The publication exclusively reported that Bae reached out to the company to participate as an advisor and later asked to invest in the project. The company said it cannot reveal the amount invested by the actor but Bae is said to have invested well over $100,000 in the project.
“Bae has consistently been interested in the seafood industry for a long time. Initially, Bae reached out to Seamon to participate as an advisor but he wanted to invest in the project and last month, we processed the investment. We cannot disclose the exact amount of the investment but it is not in the tens of thousands of dollars range,” Seamon president Lee Jung-hoon said.
In recent years, the blockchain industry has seen an increase in the number of companies attempting to utilize blockchain technology to process seafood exports, imports, and supply chain.
Intel, for instance, the $240 billion technology conglomerate, developed a blockchain network called Sawtooth as a part of the Hyperledger Foundation to support a seafood supply chain on top of the blockchain.
The report from Intel read:
To merge the digital and physical world, Sawtooth records the journey of seafood from ocean to table. Like the fish in this case study, IoT sensors can be attached to any object entrusted to someone else for transport, with trackable ownership, possession, and telemetry parameters such as location, temperature, humidity, motion, shock and tilt.
Bae is said to have invested in Seamon primarily due to the involvement of a dominant player in the Seafood industry like Ocean Supreme, which actually could provide the platform for startups like Seamon to use the blockchain and cryptocurrencies in settling global seafood sales.
But, the investment of Bae in a cryptocurrency startup in South Korea could establish a precedent for the industry.
Following the 2017 bull market, many retail investors in South Korea were hit hard by the 80 percent drop in the price of Bitcoin.
Millennials to high-school teachers who invested in the cryptocurrency market lost tens of thousands of dollars on average after obtaining bank loans and other leverage to invest in cryptocurrencies.
As such, despite the involvement of the country’s biggest conglomerates including Samsung, Kakao, Shinhan Bank, and many more, a relatively large number of public figures who invested in the cryptocurrency space ended up apologizing to the public.
While crypto remains as a symbol of hope for the majority of investors, the sentiment around cryptocurrencies worsened to a point wherein public figures were pressured to hide their involvement in the cryptocurrency space.
The public investment of Bae suggests that the sentiment around the crypto market of South Korea has noticeably improved in the past 15 months.
Crypto Market in South Korea is Strong
The cryptocurrency sector of South Korea faced a roadblock when Upbit, the country’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, was investigated by the police for allegations of causing fake volumes.
But, with virtually every conglomerate commited to the cryptocurrency sector, the rate of which the crypto market in South Korea, especially on the institutionalization side, is rising.