Top 25 Korean Blockchain Startups You Need to Know – Best of 2019

With all the uncertainty regarding Blockchain regulations in South Korea, you would think their Blockchain ecosystem would be dying down.  However, that is far from the case.  Blockchain adoption is consistently growing in Korea.  Industries involved in finance, logistics, health, social media, and IP rights are incorporating these new innovative Blockchain technologies.  Recently the South Korean Financial Service Commission (FSC) launched the first financial regulatory sandbox where Korean Blockchain startups can work on innovative services using Blockchain technologies without regulatory oversight during the trial period of up to four years.  Since 2018, Korea has held Korea Blockchain Week to bring in leaders in Blockchain from all across the world.

The South Korean government has committed to investing over $18 dollars for upcoming Blockchain projects for 2019.  In 2018 there have been big blockchain projects set up by some of the top conglomerates in South Korea.  Kakao debuted a Blockchain platform called Klaytn, Line Corporation (Subsidiary of Naver) introduced its own cryptocurrency (Link Token), and Samsung revealed their cryptocurrency wallet for their Galaxy S10.  Korean Blockchain startups are also continuing to drive Blockchain adoption in Korea.

Here are the top 25 Blockchain startups in Korea you need to know for 2019

1. ICON Foundation (ICONLOOP)

Korean Blockchain Startup IconKorean Blockchain startup ICON is the largest blockchain network in Korea.  They provide a Blockchain sharing ledger for industries such as hospitals, banks, securities, Universities, and insurance companies.  In addition, ICON has its own cryptocurrency token called ICX and is looking to do an IPO sometime in 2020.  They will need to first pass a technology evaluation process and preliminary review before they can do an IPO.

It has done projects with Seoul Metropolitan Government, National Election Commission, and Kyobo Life Insurance among others.  ICONLOOP is the developer of Loopchain, a technology to connect different blockchains separately developed by individual companies.  It is a subsidiary of DAYLI Financial Group, one of the largest Fintech companies in Asia.  ICONLOOP’s focus in 2019 will be on IRC16.  The IRC16 is a newly added token standard based on ICON’s public blockchain network.  In addition, they will focus on ICON’s Decentralized Exchange (DEX) for p2p exchange between ICX and IRC2.

ICONLOOP received a series A investment of $8 million.  The investment will be used for their “my-ID” digital identification service.  Currently, they have 27 companies within their my-ID alliance.  These companies include banks, e-commerce companies, manufacturing companies, and security firms.

It is the only cryptocurrency to make the top 50 list among the cryptocurrencies developed by Korean companies.  Furthermore, they have strong networks within the Korean government and Korean enterprises.

2.  Terra

Korean Blockchain Startup TerraKorean Blockchain startup Terra aims to create a stable coin that can be used on Terra’s blockchain payment solution.  Therefore their focus is to create the next generation modern financial system on the Blockchain.  Their focus in 2019 will be to target e-Commerce platforms through the Terra Alliance which is a group of global e-Commerce partners (TMON, Woowa Brothers, Baedal Minjok, and etc) to help drive mass adoption and the use of Blockchain payment systems.  In addition, they have already created their own Blockchain-based simple payment service called Terra Pay.  The potential Terra could go beyond e-Commerce and into all types of financial products like loans and insurance.

Terra has been aggressive in its partnerships to bring in eCommerce companies to join its Terra Alliance ecosystem.  Sinsang Market is a business to business fashion platform that will work with Terra to create a payment system that uses the Korean mobile payment service CHAI.  Terra’s platform offers better order settlements, payments, and deliveries through CHAI.

Terra was able to close a $32 million funding round led by major cryptocurrency exchanges like OKEx, Huobi Capital, and Binance Labs

3.  Medibloc

Korean Blockchain Startup MediblocKorean Blockchain startup Medibloc that uses Blockchain technology for the healthcare data system.  It is very difficult for healthcare providers to get the complete data of a patient.  Therefore this complete data is important for getting an accurate diagnosis for the most effective treatment.  Furthermore, MediBloc provides a data integration system that gathers patients’ medical information through real-time updates.  In addition, the patients are in control of their medical records.  The records are kept confidential according to HIPPA regulations.  Therefore, the patients are the ones who can grant access to their personal medical data.

MediBloc also offers a secure and transparent data storage system.  Therefore, all new entries come with a location and time stamp.  The MediBloc system their own token called MEDX which will serve as the primary medium of exchange between all users on MediBloc.  MediBloc has strategic partnerships with many institutions in both the healthcare and financial industries.

In 2018, MediBloc raised over $10 million through an ICO and will look to get institutional investments in 2019.

4.  Blocko

Korean Blockchain Startup BlockoKorean Blockchain startup Blocko that focuses on providing a Blockchain system for transaction validation, user authentication, wallet management, and micropayment solutions.  Blocko has been working with Bank of Korea to help them use blockchain technology for their financial transactions among consumers.

Blocko builds and supports its hybrid Blockchain AERGO Enterprise which allows companies to build applications and services by sharing data on a trustless and serverless IT ecosystem.  AERGO Enterprise offers a greater level of security, scalability, and performance.  Blocko has built over 20-full scale Blockchain implementations on private and public Blockchain ledgers.  For 2019 they will focus on implementing a Blockchain solution for land registry in South Korea.

Blocko was able to get $9 during the last round of funding in June of last year.

5.  Haechi Labs – Henesis

Korean Blockchain startup Haechi LabsKorean Blockchain startup Haechi Labs is an expert for smart contract audits.  They have done audits for Ground X’s Klaytn and have worked with them on their launch of their mainnet.  Their focus for 2019 will be on their Blockchain SaaS solution called Henesis.  Henesis removes technological barriers for companies looking for Blockchain adoption.  Therefore, the solution will reduce the time and cost involved with Blockchain development. In addition, companies will be able to easily collect, process and deliver their Blockchain data in real-time.  Their solution has already been tested with Shinhan Bank.  Their aim is to be an all-in-one platform for Blockchain integration.

6.  Kodebox (CodeChain)

Korean Blockchain Startup CodechainKorean Blockchain startup CodeChain is a Blockchain network with a built-in issuance and exchange protocols.  Therefore, now digital assets issued on CodeChain can be programmed and customized so that it can comply with the regulations of a particular country.  In addition, their mobile wallet offers a simple verification process, easy to use interface and fast/secure transactions.

CodeChain is the only project that is funded by two of the biggest exchange operators in Korea (Bithumb and Upbit).

7.  Scanetchain (Inxight)

Korean Blockchain startup scanetchainKorean Blockchain startup Scanetchain recently launched its new DApp Inxight, its new AR Blockchain platform.  Inxight is an open-source platform that combines advertisements, search engines, and e-Commerce platforms.  They use AR technology to identify products both online and offline by assigning a scannable market for each product or image.  Furthermore, Inxight uses its SWC token for payments or discounts.

Their “beta” version of their marker scanning reward system will be available in the next software update.  Inxight aims to change the way people search for things.  Scanetchain has been aggressive in entering into a number of strategic partnerships to grow the ecosystem and bring greater value to their users.

8.  FANTOM Foundation

Korean Blockchain startup Fantom FoundationKorean Blockchain startup FANTOM Foundation is a non-profit organization that is building an infrastructure for decentralized global finance.  They do not use Blockchain but rather an approach called a directed acyclic graph (DAG).  They have a DAG-based distributed ledger technology (DLT) that incorporates new methods for scalability with a high-performance virtual machine for a more secure smart contract execution.  The network’s aim is to build an infrastructure to power smart cities, IOTs, and offer faster payment solutions.  Furthermore, it could be a secure and efficient platform for public utilities, medical records, healthcare services, identity storage and more.

9.  Cosmochain (FitsMe)

Korean Blockchain Startup CosmochainKorean Beauty blockchain startup Cosmochain is the creator of a Blockchain-based app service called FitsMe.  FitsMe is a personalized beauty recommendation service that uses past purchase data and preference data to recommend the best cosmetic products.  They already have attracted over 150,000 users from their beta service.  Furthermore, they got $2.5 million in investments from a U.S. hedge fund.  Samsung Electronics also selected Cosmochain as an initial DApp partner for its Galaxy S10  smartphone.  In addition, the Galaxy Keystore, the cryptocurrency wallet for the Galaxy S10, supports CosmoCoin (COSM), the cryptocurrency used in FitsMe.

10.  ARTBLOC

Korean Blockchain startup ARTBLOC has created a marketplace platform where you can purchase and sell fractionalized ownership interests in investment-grade private artworks.  Now people will be able to invest in a diverse portfolio of art pieces.  Their aim is to make art investing easier for the next generation of buyers.  They are making art ownership factional which means a piece of art will be put into sections.  Therefore, this way it will make works of art more affordable to the common consumer.  All ownership and trading will be stored on a distributed public ledger.

Their first test was with David Hockney’s work (Pictured Gathering with Mirror).  This was the first introduction of fractionalized ownership to the general public.  Furthermore, of all the buyers, 71% of them were in their 20s/30s.  Therefore this further shows the potential of the next generation of art buyers in the digital space.  There is a lot of potential for this project to disrupt the art world.  In addition, they open up new markets for artists to showcase their talent and creativity.

11.  GAPS

Korean Blockchain Startup GAPSGAPS Platform gathers information from debates conducted by community users.  The data collected is used to predict certain answers.  Topics can range from sports to even the weather.  Users can ask questions on the platform and get rewarded.  Furthermore, those that answer the questions in a logical manner will also get rewarded.  GAPS uses AI technology to gather the data collected from discussion forums in order to best predict the future.  In order to gather as many coins as possible, users will need to best predict the answers.

The platform has great potential to succeed because they focus on community and discussion which leads to content creation.  This is something many projects lack.  The discussion platform can be a great tool for companies to better understand their product, service, as well as their customers.  Their AI technology can also go a long way in predicting future market trends in many different industries.

12.  Coinduck

Korean Blockchain Startup CoinduckKorean Blockchain startup Coinduck is a cryptocurrency payment service that allows users to pay in Ethereum at offline stores.  They are a subsidiary of Chain Partners.  They were also incubated by Samsung Electronic’s Creative Lab (C-Lab).  Therefore you can download their payment system through the Samsung Blockchain wallet app on the Galaxy S10.  Therefore, users simply enter the payment amount by scanning a QR code that will be placed at the store.

13.  Aergo

Korean Blockchain Startup AergoKorean Blockchain startup Aergo an open decentralized system where developers or businesses can interact and build applications and services.  It is a pubic infrastructure that connects third parties for cost reduction and to increase efficiencies in all industry sectors.  The Aergo main network will act as the central hub for the internet of business and consumer-focused Blockchains.  In addition, Aergo hosts both crypto-centric decentralized applications and enterprise-IT solutions.

Aergo offers an easier and more proven way to adopt blockchain and transform your business while building on your existing IT and cloud assets.  It lowers costs, delays, and reliance on working with third parties in business transactions.  Furthermore, it eliminates manual, error-prone processes and information redundancy.

14.  Zikto (Insureum)

Korean Blockchain Startup InsureumKorean Blockchain startup Zikto is the company behind the Insureum Protocol.  The Insureum Protocol uses Blockchain technology to provide insurance companies with the data to create better policies.  Zikto started out as a smart wearables company that did a great job of collecting data.  In 2017 they partnered with KB Bank to launch “The Challenge” program that offered KB Kookmin cardholders rewards for their fitness data (walk count).  The program ended in mid-2018 and was a huge success.  Zikto looks to create a decentralized ecosystem that connects insurers, their policyholders, and third parties through the Insureum protocol.

15.  Futurepia

Korean Blockchain Startup FuturepiaKorean Blockchain startup Futurepia is an open-source public Blockchain platform that was developed to help enterprises, businesses, and startups to move to Blockchain.  It is built on a 3G+ consensus algorithm called DDPoS (Dual Delegated Proof of Stake).  DDoS solves the security, scalability, and usability issues of existing solutions.  Futurepia not only has a mainnet core engine APIs but also other modules like live-streaming, smart wallet, communication network, and P2P Cloud API.  In addition, it has won the “Most Innovative Blockchain Award” at the Blockchain Leadership Summit in Switzerland in 2018.

The Futurepia team has also launched a social media reward sharing DApp called SNAC which has a DAU of 10,000+, in over 40 countries and is available to download for Android & iOS, as well as their web version.  Furthermore, Futurepia offers various user-friendly developer solutions thanks to its PASTA protocol.  Their aim is to bring Blockchain technology to everyday life.

16.  Jane/KIN (Watchbot)

Korean Blockchain Startup WatchbotKorean Blockchain startup Jane/KIN released Watchbot, an automatic trading bot that uses AI and big data.  The Watchbot software program buys and sells cryptocurrencies by watching the market’s price movements.  They simply buy cryptocurrencies whose price has fallen dramatically and sells them when the price goes up.  Users can create their own trading strategies.  Their current weekly transactions reach over $77 million.  Furthermore, most of the users of Watchbot are less experienced traders or those that do not have the time to analyze the cryptocurrency market.

17.  Planetarium

Korean Blockchain Startup PlanetariumKorean Blockchain game startup Planetarium is the creators of a new decentralized role-playing game called Nine Chronicles which will be launched at the end of 2019.  The game will store its storyboard and data all on its own Blockchain.  Furthermore, Planetarium created an open-source authoring tool platform called Lipplanet, so developers can make Blockchain for games.  The first game developed on Libplanet was Nine Chronicles.  Libplanet allows for games to be made and run on an independent ecosystem.  Therefore, decentralized games built upon their open-source platform could lead to a new era for secondary creations.

18.  HUPAYX

Korean crypto payment startup HupayxKorean Blockchain startup HUPAYX is a crypto payment platform for local merchants.  HUPAYX is actively forming partnerships so they can provide crypto payment solutions for over 400,000 stores in Seoul.  Therefore, they plan to install the HUPAY (POS) terminals where users of the HUPAY app can make transactions via the HUPAY wallet or by scanning barcodes and NFC connectivity. Furthermore, their initial targets will be Duty-free shops and tourist shopping districts like Dongdaemun.  Furthermore, the platform has two basic features.  One is their service payment feature and the other is a peer-to-peer transfer of crypto assets between users.

19.  WeHome

Korean Blockchain startup WeHomeKorean home-sharing Blockchain startup WeHome is looking to disrupt Airbnb in Korea buy giving the power back to the guests and hosts.  WeHome takes 0% in commissions.  Therefore guests and hosts are the true owners of WeHome.  The WeHome team has over 8 years of domain expertise in the home-sharing industry.  Their MVP is running now and you can find it here.  Guests can book a property on WeHome through by using their token called HOM token.  They also take BTC and ETH.  The HOM Token has been listed on CPDAX.com which is operated by Coinplug who is one of WeHome’s strategic partners.

20.  Storichain

Korean Blockchain Startup StorichainKorean Blockchain startup Storichain provides narrative content by verified content creators and influencers.  Content creators can collaborate with other creators to produce content on Storichain.  In addition, Storichain keeps track of who contributed to the platform and how the ownership was transferred.  Therefore Storichain can be seen as a digital story asset management system.  The platform makes writing fast and simple and can be translated, sold, or even protected by copyright for global expansion.  In addition, the platform offers the growth graph that indicates the value of story intellectual property assets for each party(storytellers, crypto investors, readers). If a story IP changes into a movie, stakers of early stories will be able to exit.

21.  Directional

Korean Blockchain Startup DirectionalKorean Blockchain startup Directional is a stock lending platform based on Blockchain technology.  They offer stock lending and borrowing services for individual investors.  In addition, they were selected to be a part of South Korea’s FSC’s regulatory sandbox program.  It is a peer-to-peer stock lending platform for individual investors who will be joining Klaytn in 2019.  Furthermore, the main benefit of Directional will be that they will give investors rewards in the form of interest yields.

22.  TEMCO

Korean Blockchain Startup TemcoKorean Blockchain startup TEMCO a blockchain-based supply chain solution DApp developer.  It aims to transform supply chain management using Blockchain technology and smart contracts.  Their goal is to provide greater transparency and reliability across the entire supply chain process.  TEMCO has established a Blockchain supply chain network that utilizes Bitcoin.  Last year the startup secured funding from Korea Investment Partners, the leading Korean VC firm.  It was the firm’s first investment in a Blockchain startup.  Their focus for 2019 will be on branding, service promotion, and marketing.

23.  Ziktalk

Korean Blockchain Startup ZiktalkKorean startup Ziktalk is a language sharing platform that has created ZIK coins for their users.  Now users of Ziktalk can make payments to tutors.  Currently, Ziktalk has over 1,800 tutors and over 100,000 students in over 25 countries.  Furthermore, they received an investment from global cryptocurrency exchange BW.com.  Ziktalk matches people who want to teach and learn foreign languages.  The majority of their users are from Korea.

24.  Payexpress

Korean Blockchain startup PayexpressKorean Blockchain startup Payexpress is a decentralized payment/credit solution.  Payexpress guarantees fast settling cycles based on Blockchain technology for small businesses.  Once users sign up on Payexpress, an integrated electronic wallet is automatically opened.  Therefore users can charge their wallet with a variety of means through an internal digital asset exchange center.  In addition, they have an integrated digital wallet solution as well as a Blockchain-based credit & crypto card.  Therefore, the more often users use the Payexpress payment module the more mileage they will receive.

25.  Mavlux

Korean Blockchain Startup MavluxKorean Blockchain startup Mavlux provides a content delivery network (CDN) service that uses P2P Video and Blockchain technologies.  The network bandwidth is shared by group peers.  Furthermore, Mavlux can provide P2P operations without any plug-in installations.  The CDN market size in Korea alone is $170 Million.  In addition, by 2020 it is estimated to increase to $200 million.