South Korean telecom giant KT shuts down NFT platform, citing business conditions

KT Corporation, the South Korean telecommunications giant with over $32 billion in total assets, is closing down its non-fungible token platform, MINCL, as of March 4. The company cited “shifting business conditions” as the reason behind the closure of the platform, operated under the group’s digital transformation subsidiary KT Enterprise.

The announcement guided holders of KT Wiz Rookie Pack NFTs — its digital card collectibles commemorating the company-owned professional baseball team — to transfer the NFTs to e-wallets outside of MINCL. Users will not be able to view or download any remaining NFTs past the service conclusion date.

Launched in April 2022, MINCL served NFT minting, trading and wallet services for retail and institutional users.

KT did not immediately respond to The Block’s request for comment.

South Korea reconsiders web3 hype

Last month, South Korean game developer Netmarble F&C reportedly laid off every one of its 70 employees in its metaverse division and is liquidating the subsidiary. In 2022, the chairman of Netmarble, Bang Jun-hyuk, expressed confidence in metaverse being a major future business opportunity.

Competing local game maker Com2uS has already restructured staff in its metaverse division Com2Verse last September, after it reportedly recorded about $9.7 million worth of operating losses in Q3, 2023.

Hyundai Department Store, the retail conglomerate under Hyundai Group, is also ending its digital wallet service, H.NFT, as of the end of March.

Park Hye-jin, a specialist in metaverse technology at the Seoul School of Integrated Sciences & Technologies, told The Block that company executives may not see a future with continuing businesses that have not produced significant earnings in the short term. “This kind of thing always happens when a large company challenges or starts new businesses based on FOMO,” Park told The Block.

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