[THE INVESTOR] Dunamu, a Kakao affiliate which runs local cryptocurrency exchange Upbit, on March 26 said it will invest 100 billion won (US$93 million) in the blockchain industry over the next three years.
In an attempt to become a leading global exchange, Dunamu said it will invest in blockchain-based startups, as well as firms that could integrate technology into the field, such as application services, data, artificial intelligence and fintech, through mergers and acquisitions as well as equity investments.
For this, the firm has established a new investment unit tentatively called Dunamu & Partners to oversee overseas investments. Dunamu named Lee Kang-joon, Dunamu CIO who was previously with McKinsey, SoftBank Ventures Korea and Ticket Monster, as the head of the new subsidiary.
“The interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain is very high in Korea,” Song Chi-hyung, Dunamu CEO said in a statement. “It’s a great opportunity for Korea to become the mecca of blockchain-based technology. Through this investment, we would like to serve as a foothold for Korean youth who are interested in blockchain to establish new startups.”
Dunamu, along with Kakao Ventures -- formerly K Cube Ventures -- has already invested an undisclosed sum of seed round in Kodebox, a blockchain startup with focus on the gaming industry.
The mobile messenger giant has been pushing hard to helm the local cryptocurrency and blockchain field. Dunamu last week announced it has completed development of Korea’s first cryptocurrency index called Upbit Cryptocurrency Index, with plans for an April debut.
Meanwhile, Kakao is also planning to establish a new subsidiary, tentatively called Kakao Blockchain, to make a foray into various blockchain projects, including so-called “reverse initial coin offering,” where established companies raise new funds by launching a new cryptocurrency. It named Jason Han, co-founder and CTO of local startup accelerator FuturePlay, as the new head.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com)