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SK Square now 2nd-largest shareholder of Korbit

SK Square invests 98 billion won for blockchain, metaverse

Nov. 29, 2021 - 15:20 By Kan Hyeong-woo
SK Telecom's metaverse platform ifland(left) and Korbit's metaverse cryptocurrency exchange Korbit Town
SK Square became the second-largest shareholder of Korbit, one of South Korea’s top four cryptocurrency exchanges, by investing about 90 billion won ($75.5 million) to acquire a 35 percent stake, the company announced Monday.

The largest shareholder of Korbit is NXC, the holding company of local online game maker Nexon.

SK Square expects that holding a stake of Korbit itself will increase the net asset value of SK Square, as the volume of cryptocurrency transactions has rapidly increased to top that of the main bourse Kospi, the company said in a press release.

The cumulative value of cryptocurrency transactions recorded approximately 3,584 trillion won between January and September this year, about 450 trillion won greater than the transaction value of the Kospi from the same period.

With this investment, SK Square said the company and Korbit will further upgrade their services to offer an environment where more virtual asset investors can obtain more accurate and reliable investment information and trade safely.

SK Square added that it expects metaverse corporations to exist within each company’s metaverse platform, “ifland” and “Korbit Town.” SK Telecom’s ifland is an online virtual space where users interact with each other through digital avatars. Korbit Town is a social community where users can gift crypto assets to each other.

For instance, linking up ifland and Korbit Town would allow ifland users to easily buy or trade crypto assets, SK Square said.

SK Square on the same day also invested 8 billion won in Onmind, a Kakao-affiliated 3D digital human production company, to acquire a 40 percent stake.

Established in April last year, Onmind is an unlisted company that was incorporated as a subsidiary of Neptune under Kakao Games in November.

Similar to the Korbit investment, SK Square said the acquisition of Onmind’s stake will have great business synergy for the company’s metaverse platform. Onmind’s digital human technology would enable the creation of more realistic avatars on ifland or give birth to virtual influencers, it added.

For the reasons behind the company’s first investments, SK Square said the move was to create an ecosystem of blockchain and metaverse and preoccupy future information and communication technology areas that will be part and extension of life in the long run with bigger customer utilization.

“SK Square will continue to invest in ICT areas that will lead future innovation, such as blockchain and metaverse, to become an attractive investment company,” said Yoon Poong-young, the company’s chief investment officer.

SK Square, a horizontal spinoff from SK Telecom, was officially launched on Nov. 1 to focus on accelerating growth through investments in the semiconductors and information and communication technology industries.