Bubble Gum Bears, NFT-Powered Girl Capitalism and the Rise of Korean Web3 Superpower

Polygon Labs
September 8, 2023
Image source: Dribbble

The most-connected nation on Earth, home to one of the biggest phone and semiconductor manufacturers and a burgeoning culture powerhouse -- South Korea is in a league of its own. To add to that list of accolades, the country is also one of the fastest adopters of blockchain technology.

As all of Web3 converges on Seoul for the annual Korea Blockchain Week, we wanted to put a spotlight on the amazing projects that are driving adoption in this amazing country. It should come as no surprise that they are building the future of the Internet using Polygon protocols.

Hana, dul, set -- let’s go!

Don’t Worry, Be Belly

Before Lotte became one of Korea’s biggest chaebols with an empire spanning food, retail and construction, it was a chewing gum seller. It is only fitting then that the conglomerate chose a tubby, pink teddy bear named Bellygom as a mascot. 

Bellygom made a Web3 debut last year with a PFP NFT collection. In August, the team unveiled the Bellyland expansion to build out Lotte’s Web3 vision. Users can squad up, collect Bubble Gum rewards and make Super Jelly to indulge their digital sweet tooth.

Girl Capitalism With Korean Characteristics

Starting with Gangnam Style’s breakout YouTube hit and the global legion of BTS fans to Academy-winner Parasite and chart-topping Squid Game on Netflix, South Korea is a bona fide culture powerhouse. It is also an idol factory.

TripleS, a brainchild of Modhaus, is a 24-member K-Pop girl group with an NFT twist. Modhaus’ stated mission is to include fans across major stages of production using NFT-powered governance mechanisms. With tripleS, the fan community gets to decide the org structure of the band and select the lead song for the upcoming album via blockchain voting mechanism.

On the Shoulders of a Chaebol Giant

Web3 has a powerful ally in the country in SK Telecom. Last month, South Korea’s top mobile carrier launched an open beta of its NFT marketplace TopPort featuring about 3,000 works from domestic NFT creators. Fans can buy NFTs with South Korean won currency instead of the cryptocurrencies, helping  reduce onboarding friction. The telecom giant also unveiled a Web3 wallet slated for release later this year. 

MMORPG People Power

You know a country takes its video games seriously when “pro-gaming” is recognized as an official job category. In Korea, that happened more than two decades ago. It is in this fertile soil that some of the most interesting experiments in Web3 gaming are taking place.

ArcheWorld is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that is using  blockchain technology to address the genre’s biggest problem -- digital asset ownership. The game uses NFT powered by Bora to give users ownership of major in-game assets, items and even player characters. The team is also exploring a sensible approach to play-to-earn that would allow players to create quests, instance dungeons and modify game design documents. An adventure awaits!

Degens, Start Your Engines

Why gamble on hamster racing, when you can get behind the wheel of an overpowered lawnmower yourself. Rumble Racing Star is a rowdy racing game by Delabs Games where users careen around gnarly tracks on custom lawnmowers for a chance of taking home a prize pool and winning rare items.

Delabs Games is a Web3 gaming venture by 4:33 Creative Lab founded by a former CEO of South Korean free-to-play giant Nexon. The studio’s game pipeline includes   “Space Frontier,” a slick space refugee survival game that has the feel of Mass Effect and Dead Space thrown together, and anime-flavored cyberpunk apocalypse survival fighter “Meta Bolts.”

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Together, we can build an equitable future for all through the mass adoption of Web3!

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