NEAR Korea Hub: June 2023 Highlights

NEAR Foundation
July 3, 2023

Since launching in November of 2022, NEAR Korea Hub has hit a number of major milestones in the Korean Web3 industry. The Hub has significantly contributed to the expansion of the Web3 ecosystem over the past 6 months by forming partnerships with leading domestic game companies, providing generous developer support, and forging long-term relationships with college blockchain clubs. 

Let’s take a look at all of the exciting things that came out of the NEAR Korea Hub during NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin’s visit.

NEAR co-founder Illia Polosukhin talks Web3 and AI

A number of major Korean media outlets conducted interviews with Illia on NEAR Protocol’s Web3 and AI strategy. Illia pointed out that NEAR Protocol’s principle focus is on the Blockchain Operating System (BOS) and FastAuth, an important new product that provides a better-than-Web2 onboarding experience that can help foster the mass adoption of Web3.
Here is a list of Illia’s interviews (the coverage is in Korean):

  • Hankyung (Korea Economy) – “Blockchain and AI will Create the Best Synergy”
  • Kyunghyang – Blockchain AI Synergy will be Amazing
  • Kyunghyang Weekly – Is Fake News the Fault of Generative AI?
  • TechM – Korean Games Leading in Web3.0 Business Model… Synergy with AI and Blockchain
  • CoinDesk – Popularization of Web3 Starts from User-Centered Thinking

Illia’s talk at ETHSeoul & Buidl Asia — June 2nd – June 7th

Illia attended ETH Seoul and BUIDL Asia — both major Web3 events — as the first keynote speaker, where he gave a speech entitled “Web3’s Future, BOS.”  

“One of the major problems with Web3 is the user inconvenience when making and using wallets,” Illia pointed out. “With BOS, which provides a Web2-like experience and ease for developers and users, NEAR Protocol wants to connect all blockchain and users to onboard 1 billion users to Web3”. He also added: “BOS acts as a gateway to combine all features such as DeFi and NFT which are scattered around the Web3 network”.

Illia further emphasized the importance of the Korean market and shared achievements of NEAR Korea Hub. 

Illia’s Speech at the Gyeonggi Province ‘AI Expert Policy Roundtable’ — June 8th

Illia was invited to give his speech “The Intersection of AI and Web3” at the “AI Expert Policy Roundtable” hosted by Gyeonggi-do, the largest province in Korea. He also discussed potential partnership opportunities with the governor of Gyeonggi-do, who is also a presidential candidate.

In his speech, Illia noted: “AI should be open source instead of closed source. We need to find institutional measures to secure and manage high-quality data based on Web3 technology in the public domain. The combination of Web3 and AI has the potential to act as a pillar of the new policy for mass adoption. NEAR Protocol will be the strongest use case if allowed to become a bridge for onboarding users to Web3”.

Business Meetings and Major Partnerships 

Meetings with global companies 

NEAR Foundation and NEAR Korea Hub hosted meetings between Illia and the management of major global companies in Korea. There were constructive discussions with companies looking to expand into Web3, which have already shown significant results.

From having small discussions to signing MOUs with major companies including Netmarble and Mirae Asset, the Korea Hub laid the foundation for solid collaboration. This foundation will serve as an important first step in expanding the Web3 industry in Korea.

MARBLEX Partnership — June 5th

NEAR Foundation has joined forces with MARBLEX, a blockchain subsidiary of Netmarble, to Expand Korea’s Web3 Gaming Industry with Aurora. Netmarble is a global top 7 game publisher with 1M+ MAU in the last three games.

Through this strategic business agreement, NEAR Foundation and MARBLEX plan to achieve mutual growth by linking the NEAR blockchain and Aurora with WARP Bridge to enable interactive collaboration, promote global joint marketing events, and enhance brand awareness. Furthermore, competitive and casual gamers alike will now be able to enjoy a variety of games and exclusive content through NEAR’s Blockchain Operating System (BOS).

More information on the NEAR Blog and Twitter.

Mirae Asset Partnership – June 7th

In a pivotal partnership for the blockchain industry, NEAR Foundation is joining forces with Mirae Asset — a subsidiary of Asia’s largest financial group Mirae Asset Global — to help bridge the gap between traditional finance and Web3.

Through this strategic business agreement, NEAR Foundation and Mirae Asset aim to expand the Web3 business domain and lead the global financial paradigm by conducting joint research and collaboration on Real-World Assets Technology. Furthermore, both parties have agreed to organize global joint events to enhance brand awareness and establish a mutual support system to strengthen the Web2/Web3 business network.

More information on the NEAR Blog and Twitter.

Vortex Gaming Onboarding — June 22nd

NEAR Foundation is excited to announce a new partnership with Vortex Gaming, a Web3 subsidiary of the leading game industry INVEN. INVEN is the largest game media·community in Korea, with a monthly active user (MAU) count of 7.2 million.

With the guidance of the NEAR Korea Hub, NEAR Foundation and Vortex Gaming plan to achieve mutual growth by collaborating to support the growth of Vortex Gaming; strengthen the NEAR game ecosystem; conduct offline hackathons and events to foster developer talent; and enhance brand awareness and business networks.

Read the full announcement on the NEAR Foundation blog

Major Events

Glitch Hackathon Winners Dinner – May 30th

During the Glitch Hackathon, which took place from May 19th to 21st, Illia and the NEAR Korea team organized a meetup event with the participants of the NEAR Track. Despite being a multi-chain hackathon with five mainnets participating, the NEAR Track had the highest number of participants, and PokaTika from the NEAR Track won the hackathon.

NEAR Korea Hub’s constant support throughout the hackathon helped achieve these remarkable results. NEAR Korea Hub provided comprehensive support and mentoring to the participating teams. Furthermore, the meetup event, which was hosted to continuously build the Korean Web3 ecosystem and establish strong relationships with new builders, saw participation from over 70 builders.

 It provided builders with valuable opportunities to showcase their products. A considerable number of teams participating in the Glitch Hackathon also took part in the ETHSeoul Hackathon, which serves as evidence of the growth of the domestic builder ecosystem for NEAR Protocol.

ETHSeoul Hackathon — June 2nd – 4th

NEAR Protocol held “NEAR Track at ETHSeoul”, an event for the blockchain ecosystem and community. ETHSeoul served as a platform for discussions on Web3 mass adoption, with participation from 46 hackathon teams (including over 250 builders) and 800 Web3 users. 

Among the 46 participating teams, 24 teams chose NEAR Protocol despite the event’s focus on Ethereum, indicating the strong interest and influence of NEAR in Korea. 

At NEAR Track, after an intense competition among outstanding teams, the following teams emerged victorious:

  • 1st. Pokatika, is a mobile application that enhances the post-event experience with unique NFT photo cards.
  • 2nd. On Stage(What’s Next), turns artists’ characters and illustrations into NFTs, providing AI training data to NFT holders for integrating them into new AI images.
  • Co-3rd. AGLIPPA, combines blockchain and AI to democratize artistic creation, allowing anyone to transform personal experiences into everlasting NFT.
  • Co-3rd. 0xtail, matches football enthusiasts for a football game.

BUIDL Asia — June 6th – 7th

BUIDL Asia 2023 provided a platform for various projects and communities to come together, share insights, and discuss development trends. The event, organized by Erica Kang — a prominent figure representing Korean Web3 women — garnered significant media and corporate attention.

Illia and Alex Shevchenko, co-founder of Aurora, participated as speakers and shared insights on the NEAR ecosystem’s current trends and future prospects. Additionally, NEAR Korea Hub operated a booth at the event, allowing attendees to experience the Blockchain Operating System (BOS) first-hand.

NEAR x Hashed Night — June 8th

NEAR x Hashed Night was a highly successful event co-organized with Hashed, a distinguished venture capital firm representing the Web3 industry. The event witnessed the participation of 35 partner companies and an impressive attendance of 410 individuals. Illia led the event alongside key executives from the NEAR ecosystem who served as distinguished speakers. They provided insightful introductions to NEAR Protocol and its notable projects, facilitating valuable networking opportunities for all attendees.

Speakers like Alex Shevchenko, co-founder of Aurora, Bowen Shen, co-founder of Proximity Labs, and Ran Yi, co-founder of Orderly Network attended the event. Representatives from Mirae Asset and MARBLEX, who recently formed a strategic partnership with NEAR Foundation, were also present. It was amazing to see so many major Web2 and Web3 companies in one place, as it created a fantastic opportunity to explore new business prospects.

As one attendee noted: “The place was so crowded that it was running out of oxygen”. This achievement was made possible thanks to NEAR’s growing reputation in the Korean Web3 industry and the onboarding of numerous builders through Glitch and ETHSeoul Hackathon.

NEAR Korea is really excited about NEAR’s upcoming events, including Korea Blockchain Week(KBW), and they look forward to high expectations and participation!

Raising NEAR awareness in Korea

Overall, Illia’s time in Korea along with the hard work of NEAR Korea Hub has greatly enhanced the awareness and influence of NEAR Protocol within Korea. This was made possible through the active support of the NEAR Foundation and the strong collaboration with ecosystem partners. 

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