At the very beginning of 2022, South Korean tech giant Samsung announced its foray into the metaverse and a new “NFT Aggregation Platform” designed for its smart TVs. In addition to NFT TVs, Samsung has also launched a virtual experience inside Decentraland, one of the most popular metaverse gaming platforms. It’s high time we took a look around the South Korean NFT world to see the latest developments.
Samsung NFT TV and presence in Decentraland
The idea of the metaverse is no longer the distant, dreamy vision shared only by a limited number of crypto veterans that it once was. From the moment Facebook reinvented itself as “Meta”, a few other tech giants around the world followed in the company’s footsteps and made bold moves to venture into the metaverse space. .
On January 18, 2022, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for a valuation of US$68.7 billion in an all-cash transaction. Half a month ago, South Korean tech giant and conglomerate Samsung Electronics announced three new TV models for 2022 that house an “intuitive, integrated platform for discovering, buying and exchanging digital artwork”.
On January 6, 2022, Samsung’s official launch into the Metaverse, the Samsung 837X Grand Opening Event opened its doors to residents of Decentraland as part of the CES 2022 interactive event. During the three-day event of Launch, Decentraland residents who visited and participated in the quests were able to collect four NFT badges as part of the experience. They visited various landscapes, watched Samsung promotional videos, enjoyed DJ concerts, and at the end of the process entered a contest to win three different levels of exclusive Samsung wearable NFTs.
Although the special launch event has ended, the Samsung 837X Virtual Experience in Decentraland still remains open to everyone as a great promotion and reminder of future events. Inside the Samsung 837X building, the three individual experiences – Connectivity Theater, Customization Stage and Sustainability Forest – showed how a commercial brand could use the Web 3.0 metaverse space to create an interactive and fun experience to interact with the public and consumers, as opposed to the old-fashioned outdoor billboards or online advertising that Web 2.0 users have grown so tired of.
From time to time, I read many concerns from enthusiastic people about the metaverse. Some of them fear that the future of major metaverse gaming experiences will be filled with giant corporations from our reality who have bought up a massive amount of land and stuffed it with tasteless and ugly advertisements. Samsung, among a few other global brands that have become the first to dive in, at least seems to be trying to set a good example and standard for how their Metaverse experience should be engaging and sincere to the Metaverse generation.
South Korean NFT Market and Become a Leading Force in the Metaverse
On January 13, the CEO of South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, Heo Baek-young, said in an interview that the exchange was developing an NFT exchange that would help the company “stay competitive” with d other Korean national exchanges. Korean media also reported that the NFT exchange developed by Bithumb is likely to be backed by LG, Samsung’s local and global competitor in the manufacture of electronics and smart devices. Will the future Bithumb NFT exchange become a convenient and major NFT exchange for South Korean NFT artists? Likely.
Before this launch of an NFT exchange developed by an influential crypto exchange, there are already independent South Korean NFT websites trying to promote a number of Korean NFT artists and their artworks.
KoreanNFT.com, for example, is a relatively new website that features NFT works from over 160 Korean NFT artists. According to the website, Korean NFT founder Donglee Han is also a Korean NFT community leader who helps other Korean NFT artists become members of the international NFT community.
A graduate of UCLA with a major in art history, Donglee is a visual artist living in LA, and her NFT works can be found in SPACE776, an art gallery that has locations in New York and Seoul that exhibits early-career artists who work in a variety of mediums. These range from traditional oil painting to live media art and NFT art. On this site, there is an Opensea link on each artist’s individual page.
A cool project I found is called DRUGer, created by the artist who goes by the name DRUGer (드러거). In his DRUGer collection so far there are 20 items. Each artwork contains an animal with flashing visual effects (epilepsy warning) that simulate an “eye drug”.
If you think South Korea’s booming and bustling NFT scene is all about tech companies, NFT artists and their artwork, you’re missing a lot more of what’s happening in the country.
In November 2021, the super famous South Korean music agency HYBE, which manages the world famous Korean pop group BTS (Dynamite, Butter, Permission to Dance, I’m sure you’ve heard some of their hit songs), signed a joint venture with South Korean fintech company Dunamu to launch non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring the popular band, along with other artists. In the unexpected realm of politics, South Korean lawmaker Lee Kwang-jae announced in December 2021 that he would start accepting crypto donations and issuing NFT receipts with his image and campaign promises to his supporters.
Korean retail is also in the national race to adopt blockchain-based NFT technology and applications. According to the Korea Herald, online retail company CJ Olive Networks recently announced a partnership with local blockchain company Galaxia Metaverse to sell NFT art and fashion items. Lotte Home Shopping, another retail leader in South Korea, announced the launch of an NFT Marketplace in April this year and plans to sell NFTs created using its own virtual models and store items. virtual fashions. The list is lengthened increasingly.
Why does this happen? Park Sung-joon, director of Dongguk University’s Blockchain Research Center, said the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated online shopping and is driving retail giants to try to gain the upper hand in new areas like NFTs using their retail channels.
South Korea’s science ministry even announced a five-year plan designed to put the nation at the forefront of the global metaverse race. As the Korea Herald reports, the country aims to become the 5th largest metaverse market by 2026. To achieve this, the government plans to help at least 40,000 professionals and 220 companies specializing in the metaverse.
What motivated the South Korean government to make such a serious commitment to winning the metaverse race? While the fourth industrial revolution of advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0 has already become the present, gaining the upper hand in the next cycle of the revolution, whether it is the fifth industrial revolution of human-collaboration machine or the migration of humans to the metaverse, could give the country a huge advantage in technological innovation and economics.
In the eternal shadow of complex geopolitics and uncertainty, constrained by natural resources and regional power plays, South Korea has focused on the path of developing technology and big name brands. world over the past forty years. If we think the metaverse is going to be the next global chapter for most developed nations, then there’s no reason not to aim for success and dominance.
How is the NFT market regulated in South Korea?
Last but not least, regulations. Artwork and art business, like any other business, is regulated by government and regulators. Local regulations on avant-garde works of art such as non-fungible tokens undoubtedly impact the development of the local market.
South Korean media reported in November last year that the country’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), had confirmed that NFTs did not fall under the definition of “virtual asset” and would not be therefore not regulated by the FSC. However, this does not mean that the local NFT art trading market will not be regulated at all. There is an option for NFTs to be regulated as securities and by the Financial Supervisory Service, a different regulatory body. NFTs that function as “security tokens,” providing the holder with royalties, would be considered a regulated entity.
At a time when tech giants, the retail industry, and even the entertainment industry in South Korea are all testing the waters of NFT investments, local regulators must indeed weigh the options and find the best approach.
Have you found any Korean NFT artworks that you are particularly interested in?
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
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