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KAA Recognizes 4 Distinguished Alumni of the Year
The KAIST Alumni Association (KAA) recognized four distinguished alumni of the year during a ceremony on February 25 in Seoul. The four Distinguished Alumni Awardees are Distinguished Professor Sukbok Chang from the KAIST Department of Chemistry, Hyunshil Ahn, head of the AI Economy Institute and an editorial writer at The Korea Economic Daily, CEO Hwan-ho Sung of PSTech, and President Hark Kyu Park of Samsung Electronics. Distinguished Professor Sukbok Chang who received his MS from the Department of Chemistry in 1985 has been a pioneer in the novel field of ‘carbon-hydrogen bond activation reactions’. He has significantly contributed to raising Korea’s international reputation in natural sciences and received the Kyungam Academic Award in 2013, the 14th Korea Science Award in 2015, the 1st Science and Technology Prize of Korea Toray in 2018, and the Best Scientist/Engineer Award Korea in 2019. Furthermore, he was named as a Highly Cited Researcher who ranked in the top 1% of citations by field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index for seven consecutive years from 2015 to 2021, demonstrating his leadership as a global scholar. Hyunshil Ahn, a graduate of the School of Business and Technology Management with an MS in 1985 and a PhD in 1987, was appointed as the first head of the AI Economy Institute when The Korea Economic Daily was the first Korean media outlet to establish an AI economy lab. He has contributed to creating new roles for the press and media in the 4th industrial revolution, and added to the popularization of AI technology through regulation reform and consulting on industrial policies. PSTech CEO Hwan-ho Sung is a graduate of the School of Electrical Engineering where he received an MS in 1988 and a PhD in EMBA in 2008. He has run the electronics company PSTech for over 20 years and successfully localized the production of power equipment, which previously depended on foreign technology. His development of the world’s first power equipment that can be applied to new industries including semiconductors and displays was recognized through this award. Samsung Electronics President Hark Kyu Park graduated from the School of Business and Technology Management with an MS in 1986. He not only enhanced Korea’s national competitiveness by expanding the semiconductor industry, but also established contract-based semiconductor departments at Korean universities including KAIST, Sungkyunkwan University, Yonsei University, and Postech, and semiconductor track courses at KAIST, Sogang University, Seoul National University, and Postech to nurture professional talents. He also led the national semiconductor coexistence system by leading private sector-government-academia collaborations to strengthen competence in semiconductors, and continues to make unconditional investments in strong small businesses. KAA President Chilhee Chung said, “Thanks to our alumni contributing at the highest levels of our society, the name of our alma mater shines brighter. As role models for our younger alumni, I hope greater honours will follow our awardees in the future.”
SM CEP Soo-Man Lee to Teach at the KAIST School of Computing
The Founder and Chief Executive Producer of SM Entertainment Soo-Man Lee was appointed as a distinguished visiting professor in the KAIST School of Computing. His three-year term starts on March 1. KAIST and the SM Entertainment signed an MOU on joint research on the metaverse last year and Lee’s appointment is the extension of their mutual collaborations in fields where technologies converge and will encourage innovative advancements in engineering technology and the entertainment industry. Lee, who completed a graduate program in computer science at California State University Northridge will give special leadership lectures for both undergraduate and graduate students, and will participate in metaverse-related research as a consultant. In particular, Professor Lee will participate in joint research with the tentatively named Metaverse Institute affiliated with the KAIST Institute for Artificial Intelligence. The institute will help SM Entertainment stay ahead of the global metaverse market by using the avatars of celebrities, and lend itself to raising the already strong brand power of the K-pop leader. Professor Lee said, “I am grateful that KAIST, the very cradle of Korea’s science and technology, has given me the opportunity to meet its students as a visiting professor. We will lead the metaverse world, in which Korea is emerging as a market leader, with the excellent contents and technology unique to our country, and work together to lead the future global entertainment market.” President Kwang-Hyung Lee said, “The ability to expand our limitless creativity in the metaverse is indispensable for us as we adapt to this new era. We hope that the vision and creative insights of Executive Producer Lee, which have allowed him to look ahead into the future of the entertainment contents market, will have a positive and fresh impact on the members of KAIST.” The global influence and reputation of Executive Producer Lee has been well established through his various awards. He was the first Korean to be listed on Variety500 for five consecutive years from 2017 to 2021. He was also the first Korean awardee of the Asia Game Changer Awards in 2016, the first cultural figure to receive the YoungSan Diplomacy Award in 2017, the only Korean to be listed on the 2020 Billboard Impact List, and he has also received the K-pop Contribution Award at the 10th Gaon Chart Music Awards. He recently introduced Play2Create (P2C), a new interactive and creative culture in which re-creation can be enjoyed like a game using IP, and is leading the establishment of the P2C ecosystem.
Commencement Ceremony Honors the Class of 2022
Third online commencement ceremony since the pandemic outbreak celebrates 2741 graduates The 2022 commencement ceremony convened online on February 18 to celebrate and award degrees to the Class of 2022. The graduating class of 2022 included 663 PhDs, 1,383 Masters, and 695 Bachelors. The limited number of attendees included 86 graduate representatives and approximately 20 faculty members in senior leadership, as well as Korea’s Minister of Science and ICT Hyesook Lim. The ceremony was livestreamed on KAIST’s YouTube channel. Valedictorian Ji-Young Lee from the Department of Physics received the Minister of Science and ICT’s Award. Yu-Jin Bang from the School of Business and Technology Management was the Awardee of the Chairman of the KAIST Board of Trustees and the KAIST Presidential Awardee was Jong-Hwan Lee from the Department of Mathematical Sciences. KAIST conferred honorary doctorates to Honorary Chairman Jae-Chul Kim of Dongwon Group and Chairman Sung-Hwan Chang of Samsung Brush. Chairman Kim, whose donation funded the establishment of the Kim Jae-Chul Graduate School of AI, was awarded an honorary doctorate of science technology. Chairman Chang was awarded an honorary doctorate of business administration in recognition of his funding in the fields of medical science and engineering at KAIST. This year’s undergraduate commencement speaker was Hye-Lin Park from the School of Computing. She has severe cerebral palsy and was the first student admitted to KAIST with a severe physical handicap. “I loved mathematics and wanted to become a mathematician. When I learned programming in my second year, I was so mesmerized by it that I transferred to the School of Computing,” said Park, who plans to continue studying programming languages in graduate school at KAIST. “I spent my entire life of 24 years in this beautiful wheelchair. Without the support and help of my parents, friends, and my special teachers who helped me move and study at the campus, I would not have made it this far,” said Park. For easier access to classrooms and facilities, KAIST started to remodel its facilities to make the entrance of buildings more wheelchair-friendly. Park made many suggestions to the Office of Student Life and the Facilities Management Office on how to ease mobility for handicapped people on campus. The physical education course that was required for graduation was also revised to stipulate exceptions. Minister Lim stressed the role of young scientists and researchers in these times of digital transformation dominated by AI and the metaverse. She encouraged the graduates to carry out their dreams with warm hearts and challenging spirits. KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee also stressed the power of dreams, calling for graduates to dream big even in times of uncertainty. “Humanity stands at an inflection point in history. The fourth industrial revolution and outbreak of Covid-19 have unfolded the grand global transformation. Although the future gives us new opportunities, it also comes with anxiety regarding the uncertainties ahead.” “Dreams make your heart race and push us to live life to the fullest. Dreams will help you keep moving forward even in the face of adversity,” he said.
Five Projects Ranked in the Top 100 for National R&D Excellence
Five KAIST research projects were selected as the 2021 Top 100 for National R&D Excellence by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Institute of Science & Technology Evaluation and Planning. The five projects are:-The development of E. coli that proliferates with only formic acid and carbon dioxide by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering -An original reverse aging technology that restores an old human skin cell into a younger one by Professor Kwang-Hyun Cho from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering-The development of next-generation high-efficiency perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells by Professor Byungha Shin from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering-Research on the effects of ultrafine dust in the atmosphere has on energy consumption by Professor Jiyong Eom from the School of Business and Technology Management-Research on a molecular trigger that controls the phase transformation of bio materials by Professor Myungchul Kim from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering Started in 2006, an Evaluation Committee composed of experts in industries, universities, and research institutes has made the preliminary selections of the most outstanding research projects based on their significance as a scientific and technological development and their socioeconomic effects. The finalists went through an open public evaluation. The final 100 studies are from six fields: 18 from mechanics & materials, 26 from biology & marine sciences, 19 from ICT & electronics, 10 from interdisciplinary research, and nine from natural science and infrastructure. The selected 100 studies will receive a certificate and an award plaque from the minister of MSIT as well as additional points for business and institutional evaluations according to appropriate regulations, and the selected researchers will be strongly recommended as candidates for national meritorious awards. In particular, to help the 100 selected research projects become more accessible for the general public, their main contents will be provided in a free e-book ‘The Top 100 for National R&D Excellence of 2021’ that will be available from online booksellers.
President Lee Presents Plans to Nurture Next-Generation Talents
President Lee stressed that nurturing medical scientists, semiconductor R&D personnel, startup entrepreneurs, and global innovators are key missions he will continue to pursue during a news conference KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee said that nurturing medical scientists, semiconductor R&D personnel, startup entrepreneurs, and global innovators are key missions he will continue to pursue during an online news conference marking the 1st anniversary of him becoming the president on February 15. He said that nurturing physician-scientists is the most critical mission for KAIST to help the nation create a new growth engine. He said KAIST will help the nation drive the bio-industry and provide medical science resources for the nation’s health sector. To this end, he said that KAIST will open its Medical Science and Technology School by 2026. “We plan to expand the current Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering into a new Medical Science and Technology School that will focus entirely on a condensed MD-PhD course converging the fields of AI, bio, and physics,” he said. The school aims to foster medical scientists whose research results will eventually be commercialized. He said that the university is now discussing revisions to related laws and regulations with the government and other universities. To supply human resources to the semiconductor industry, President Lee said the university will add a campus in Pyongtaek City that will serve as an advanced convergence research hub in the field of next generation semiconductors in collaboration with Samsung Electronics and the city of Pyongtaek. The three-stage opening plan projected the final opening of the campus by 2036. During the first stage, which will be completed by 2026, it will construct the campus infrastructure in Pyongtaek city where Samsung Semiconductors runs two massive semiconductor complexes. By 2031, it plans to launch the open research platform including a future cities research center and future vehicles research center. The campus will open the global industrial collaboration cluster hub by 2036. In the global arena, President Lee said he is working to open the New York campus with stakeholders in the United States. He announced the plan last December that was endorsed by New York-based entrepreneur Hee-Nam Bae, the chairman of Big Continent Inc. President Lee and Chairman Lee signed an MOU for the funding to open the campus in New York. “We are discussing how to facilitate the plan and best accommodate the interests and potential of our students. Many ideas and plans are on the table and we think it will take longer than expected to finalize the plan,” explained President Lee. However, he added that the basic idea is to offer art tech and health technology programs as well as an AI-based finance MBA at the New York campus, in addition to it serving as the startup accelerator of KAIST. President Lee stressed the importance of technology commercialization when successfully launching KAIST Holdings last month to help spinoffs of KAIST labs accelerate their end results. He said that KAIST Holdings will build a virtuous supporting system to commercialize the technology startups coming from KAIST. “We plan to list at least 10 KAIST startups on the KOSDAQ and two on the NASDAQ by 2031. KAIST Holdings also aims to nurture companies valued at a total of one billion KRW and earn 100 billion KRW in technology fees by 2031.
Thermal Superconductor Lab Becomes the 7th Cross-Generation Collaborative Lab
The Thermal Superconductor Lab led by Senior Professor Sung Jin Kim from the Department of Mechanical Engineering will team up with Junior Professor Youngsuk Nam to develop next-generation superconductors. The two professor team was selected as the 7th Cross-Generation Collaborative Lab last week and will sustain the academic legacy of Professor Kim’s three decades of research on superconductors. The team will continue to develop thin, next-generation superconductors that carry super thermal conductivity using phase transition control technology and thin film packaging. Thin-filmed, next-generation superconductors can be used in various high-temperature flexible electronic devices. The superconductors built inside of the semiconductor device packages will also be used for managing the low-powered but high-performance temperatures of semiconductor and electronic equipment. Professor Kim said, “I am very pleased that my research, know-how, and knowledge from over 30 years of work will continue through the Cross-Generation Collaborative Lab system with Professor Nam. We will spare no effort to advance superconductor technology and play a part in KAIST leading global technology fields.” Junior Professor Nam also stressed that the team is excited to continue its research on crucial technology for managing the temperatures of semiconductors and other electronic equipment. KAIST started this innovative research system in 2018, and in 2021 it established the steering committee to select new labs based on: originality, differentiation, and excellence; academic, social, economic impact; the urgency of cross-generation research; the senior professor’s academic excellence and international reputation; and the senior professor’s research vision. Selected labs receive 500 million KRW in research funding over five years.
Seven Faculty Members Elected to Join the National Academy of Engineering of Korea
< Clockwise from top left: Professor Doo-Hwan Bae, Professor Seung Seob Lee, Professor Kyung Cheol Choi, Professor JaeYong Choung > Seven KAIST faculty members have been elected as National Academy of Engineering of Korea (NAEK) members and associate members. NAEK, the most prestigious engineering society in Korea, elects new members with a minimum of 15 years of experience in engineering in academia and business every year. In 2022, 24 members were newly elected from academia, including four KAIST faculty members: Professor Doo-Hwan Bae from the SW Education Center, KAIST Provost and Executive Vice President Seung Seob Lee, Professor JaeYong Choung from the School of Business and Technology Management, and Professor Kyung Cheol Choi of the School of Electrical Engineering. In the business sector, 21 members were elected as members in business, including Vice Chairman Jong-hee Han of Samsung Electronics, CEO Hyeon-Mo Ku of KT, President Sang-Ryul Lee of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, President Kyo Won Jin of SK Hynix, CEO Eunkang Song of Capstone Partners, and Executive Vice President Se-hoon Kim of Hyundai Motor Company. Among the newly elected 40 associate members from academia, three KAIST professors were listed: Professor Sukyoung Ryu from the School of Computing, Professor Joongmyeon Bae from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Professor EunAe Cho from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Another 44 members were elected as associate members in business, including Vice Chairman Hag-Dong Kim of POSCO, President Seong-Hyeon Cho of Mando Corp, President Siyoung Choi of Samsung Electronics, President Joo Sun Choi of Samsung Display, and Chairman Byung-Gyu Chang of Krafton. NAEK evaluates candidates not only on their academic achievements, but on various other criteria including technological achievements, patents, the nurturing of talents, and contributions to the advancements of the industry. Candidates are then elected through written ballots by the members of NAEK. There are now 294 members and 360 associate members of NAEK.
Perigee-KAIST Rocket Research Center Launches Scientific Rocket
Undergraduate startup Perigree Aerospace develops suborbital rocket called Blue Whale 0.1 On December 29, Perigee Aerospace, an undergraduate startup, launched a test rocket with a length of 3.2 m, a diameter of 19 cm, and a weight of 51 kg, using ethanol and liquid oxygen as fuel. The launch took place off Jeju Island. It was aimed at building experience and checking the combustion of a liquid propulsion engine and the performance of pre-set flight and trajectory, communication, and navigation devices. It was also one of the projects marking the 50th anniversary of KAIST in 2021. However, after flying for several seconds, the rocket lost its track due to a gust of wind that activated the rocket’s automatic flight suspension system. "At the moment the rocket took off, there was a much stronger gust than expected," Dong-Yoon Shin, CEO of Perigee said. "The wind sent it flying off course and the automatic flight suspension system stopped its engine." However, Shin was not disappointed, saying the launch, which was conducted in collaboration with Perigee-KAIST Rocket Research Center provided a good experience. "Some people say that Blue Whale 0.1 is like a toy because of its small size. Of course, it's much smaller than the rockets I’ve dreamed of, but like other rockets, it has all the technology needed for launch," said Shin, who established his company in 2018 as a KAIST aerospace engineering student to develop small liquid-propellant orbital rockets. Perigee Aerospace aims to develop the world’s lightest launch vehicle using high-powered engines, with a goal of leading the global market for small launch vehicles in the new space generation. Perigee-KAIST Rocket Research Center was founded in 2019 for the research and development of rocket propellants and has been testing the combustion of rocket engines of various sizes in their liquid propellant rocket combustion lab located on the KAIST Munji Campus. The research center initiated the 50th anniversary rocket launch project in late April of last year, finished the examination of their preliminary design in late May, and secured a tentative launching site through the KAIST-Jejudo agreement in early July. The ethanol engine combustion was tested in late July, and an examination meeting regarding the detailed design that took place in late August was followed by two months of static firing tests of the assembled rocket in October and November. This was a very meaningful trial in which a domestic private enterprise founded by a college student collaborated with a university to successfully develop and launch a technically challenging liquid propellant rocket. Shin's near-term goal is to launch a two-stage orbital rocket that uses liquid methane as fuel and weighs 1.8 tons. To secure competitiveness in the small projectile market, KAIST and Perigee Aerospace have set up a joint research center to test various rocket engine sizes and develop the world's lightest projectile using a high-performance engine. Professor Jae-Hung Han, head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering, said, “The scientific rocket system secured through the launch of the celebratory rocket will be utilized for design and system-oriented education, and for carrying out various scientific missions.” He added, “It is very rare both domestically and globally that a scientific rocket designed by the initiatives of a department should be incorporated as part of a regular aerospace system design curriculum. This will be an exemplary case we can boast about to the rest of the world.” Perigee Aerospace will improve the technology they have developed through the course of this project to develop subminiature vehicles they may use to launch small satellites into the low Earth orbit. Shin said, “I am happy just with the fact that we have participated in a rocket project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of KAIST, and I would like to thank the engineers at my company and members of the KAIST Department of Aerospace Engineering.” He added, “I’m looking forward to the day that we develop a space launch vehicle that can deliver satellites even higher.”
Team KAIST Makes Its Presence Felt in the Self-Driving Tech Industry
Team KAIST finishes 4th at the inaugural CES Autonomous Racing Competition Team KAIST led by Professor Hyunchul Shim and Unmanned Systems Research Group (USRG) placed fourth in an autonomous race car competition in Las Vegas last week, making its presence felt in the self-driving automotive tech industry. Team KAIST, beat its first competitor, Auburn University, with speeds of up to 131 mph at the Autonomous Challenge at CES held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, the team failed to advance to the final round when it lost to PoliMOVE, comprised of the Polytechnic University of Milan and the University of Alabama, the final winner of the $150,000 USD race. A total of eight teams competed in the self-driving race. The race was conducted as a single elimination tournament consisting of multiple rounds of matches. Two cars took turns playing the role of defender and attacker, and each car attempted to outpace the other until one of them was unable to complete the mission. Each team designed the algorithm to control its racecar, the Dallara-built AV-21, which can reach a speed of up to 173 mph, and make it safely drive around the track at high speeds without crashing into the other. The event is the CES version of the Indy Autonomous Challenge, a competition that took place for the first time in October last year to encourage university students from around the world to develop complicated software for autonomous driving and advance relevant technologies. Team KAIST placed 4th at the Indy Autonomous Challenge, which qualified it to participate in this race. “The technical level of the CES race is much higher than last October’s and we had a very tough race. We advanced to the semifinals for two consecutive races. I think our autonomous vehicle technology is proving itself to the world,” said Professor Shim. Professor Shim’s research group has been working on the development of autonomous aerial and ground vehicles for the past 12 years. A self-driving car developed by the lab was certified by the South Korean government to run on public roads. The vehicle the team used cost more than 1 million USD to build. Many of the other teams had to repair their vehicle more than once due to accidents and had to spend a lot on repairs. “We are the only one who did not have any accidents, and this is a testament to our technological prowess,” said Professor Shim. He said the financial funding to purchase pricy parts and equipment for the racecar is always a challenge given the very tight research budget and absence of corporate sponsorships. However, Professor Shim and his research group plan to participate in the next race in September and in the 2023 CES race. “I think we need more systemic and proactive research and support systems to earn better results but there is nothing better than the group of passionate students who are taking part in this project with us,” Shim added.
KAIST and KNUA to Collaborate on Culture Technology
Distinguished Visiting Scholar Soprano Sumi Jo Accompanied by AI pianist ‘VirtuosoNet’ during the Special Concert at KAIST KAIST will expand the convergence of arts education and culture technology research in collaboration with the Korea National University of Arts (KNUA), the nation’s top arts university. KAIST President Kwang Hyung Lee signed an MOU with President Daejin Kim of the Korea National University of Art on January 6 at KAIST’s Daejeon campus for collaborations in arts education and research. KAIST and KNUA will expand educational programs such as student exchanges and co-credit programs. The two universities will team up for cooperation focusing on research centers and academic conferences for the creation of culture technology and convergence arts. Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Hee Hwang also attended the ceremony. Minister Hwang said that the Ministry will invest 132 billion KRW in R&D for developing metaverse and content technologies. He added that this collaboration will be a very meaningful turning point for creating a new culture combining high-level technologies. President Kim also expressed his expectations saying, “The collaboration of our two universities will generate a huge synergistic impact for nurturing talents and the creation of convergence arts. President Lee said that the collaboration with KNUA will take KAIST another step forward as it aims to foster well-rounded talents. “We look forward to proactive collaborative research that will expand the new chapter of convergence arts and future stage performances.” Right after the signing ceremony, world renowned soprano Sumi Jo, who was named a Distinguished Visiting Scholar, took the KAIST auditorium stage for a special concert. AI pianist ‘VirtuosoNet’, developed by Professor Juhan Nam at the Graduate School of Culture Technology, made its debut at the concert by playing Mozart’s Turkish March arranged by Arcardi Volrodos. VirtuosoNet also accompanied Soprano Jo on one of her songs. The concert by Sumi Jo and AI pianist VirtuosoNet heralds what KAIST is pursuing for education and research in culture technology. The Graduate School of Culture Technology plans to conduct research on future culture industries combined with technologies for the metaverse. The Sumi Jo Performing Arts Research Center will conduct research on performing technologies together with virtual artists. Head of the Graduate School of Culture Technology Woontack Woo said that KAIST will expand the sphere of the culture industry including tourism in collaboration with KNUA by incorporating technology into arts.
AI Weather Forecasting Research Center Opens
The Kim Jaechul Graduate School of AI in collaboration with the National Institute of Meteorological Sciences (NIMS) under the National Meteorological Administration launched the AI Weather Forecasting Research Center last month. The KAIST AI Weather Forecasting Research Center headed by Professor Seyoung Yoon was established with funding from from the AlphaWeather Development Research Project of the National Institute of Meteorological Sciences. KAIST was finally selected asas the project facilitator. AlphaWeather is an AI system that utilizes and analyzes approximately approximately 150,000 ,000 pieces of weather information per hour to help weather forecasters produce accurate weather forecasts. The research center is composed of three research teams with the following goals: (a) developdevelop AI technology for precipitation nowcasting, (b) developdevelop AI technology for accelerating physical process-based numerical models, and (c) develop dAI technology for supporting weather forecasters. The teams consist of 15 staff member members from NIMS and 61 researchers from the Kim Jaechul Graduate School of AI at KAIST. The research center is developing an AI algorithm for precipitation nowcasting (with up to six hours of lead time), which uses satellite images, radar reflectivity, and data collected from weather stations. It is also developing an AI algorithm for correcting biases in the prediction results from multiple numerical models. Finally, it is Finally, it is developing AI technology that supports weather forecasters by standardizing and automating repetitive manual processes. After verification, the the results obtained will be used by by the Korean National Weather Service as a next-generation forecasting/special-reporting system intelligence engine from 2026.
KPC4IR Publishes Global Standards Mapping Initiative 2.0
The report highlights South Korea as an early adopter of blockchain in policy and business The KAIST Policy Center for the 4IR (KPC4IR), one of the nine working groups of the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), published the Global Standards Mapping Initiative (GSMI) 2.0, highlighting Korea as an early adopter of blockchain. The report also offers an overview of how blockchain was adopted through an analysis of policy and business cases of South Korea. In partnership with 131 institutions, GSMI 2.0 maps, catalogues, and analyzes data from 187 jurisdictions, 479 industry consortia, 38 technical standards, and 389 university courses and degree programs to provide a holistic view of the industry’s global activity. Among the nine working groups, KAIST is the sole investigator for researching South Korea’s adoption of blockchain for policy and business. It says that in terms of policy and regulations for blockchain as a virtual asset, South Korea amended the Act on Reporting and Using Specific Financial Transaction Information to comply with the Financial Action Task Force’s recommendations. The report also reviewed South Korea’s blockchain R&D. Seventeen ministries have funded 417 projects to cultivate blockchain inventions since 2015. Significantly, the Ministry of Science and ICT’s Blockchain Convergence Technology Development Program supported 50 projects between 2018 and 2021. Their R&D focused on virtual assets during the initial stage in 2015 and soon shifted its application to various domains, including identification and logistics. The report noted that the Korea Customs Service was one of the first agencies in the world to introduce blockchain into customs clearance. Through collaborations with the private sector, the Korean government has also created the world’s first blockchain-based vaccination certification services and extended it to a globally integrated decentralized identity system. Finally, the report states that these South Korean cases highlight three ambiguities in blockchain policies. First, blockchain involves both financial and industrial features. Thus, it needs a new regulatory framework that embraces the two features together. Second, integrating services on a blockchain platform will bring forth seamless automation of industries across the manufacturing, financial, and public sectors. South Korea, which already has well-proven manufacturing capabilities, is in need of a comprehensive strategy to encompass multiple services on one platform. Third, the two cases of the government’s adoption of blockchain suggest that innovations in blockchain can be facilitated through effective cooperation among government ministries and agencies regarding particular businesses in the private sector. Consequently, the government’s policy is not simply to invest in virtual assets but also to develop a virtual-physical world woven by blockchain. The new environment demands that South Korea transform its policy stances on blockchain, from specialization to comprehensiveness and cooperation. Professor So Young Kim who heads the center said, “This report shows the main lessons from South Korea for other countries adopting blockchain. We will continue to work closely with our partners including the World Economic Forum to investigate many other global issues.”
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