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Credit: Prosecutor Police News

Credit: Prosecutor Police News

South Korea pilots six public projects to harness blockchain technology

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) has recently launched six pilot Blockchain projects designed to enhance public service efficiency and also be socially inclusive by including the general public in blockchain application. 

The launch of the pilot Blockchain projects is intended to boost South Korea’s global competitiveness in Blockchain technology by nurturing potential talent and creating a blockchain ecosystem that encompasses society, industry and government.

According to a press release by the MSIT, the six pilot Blockchain projects address issues such as  livestock management, real estate transactions, online voting, shipping logistics, personal customs clearance and a national E-document distribution system. 

These projects are designed to expedite current processes and deliver greater convenience for the public. It is hoped that via these pilot blockchain projects, South Korea

A livestock management system based on blockchain allows for more efficient and transparent data sharing at all stages of the livestock management process. From rearing to slaughter and eventual sales, the use of blockchain in livestock management is expected to reduce the entire process from 6 days to just 10 minutes.

On the other hand, a real estate transaction system based on blockchain eliminates the need for an individual to visit multiple government agencies to submit necessary documents to secure a mortgage, greatly reducing transaction costs and making the whole process more convenient.

As a litmus test for South Korea’s "Blockchain Technology Development Strategy”, these Blockchain projects will lay the groundwork for future project expansion and commercialisation from 2019 onwards.

South Korea’s “Blockchain Technology Development Strategy” consists of three phases: formation of initial blockchain market, securing a competitive edge in blockchain technology and establishing blockchain industry infrastructure. 

The launch of the six pilot Blockchain projects constitutes the first step in the first phase; based on the performance of these pilot projects, MSIT intends to then encourage further private-led blockchain projects to address other social needs such as used car history management to resolve information asymmetry between car dealers and buyers, school food safety and creating “social sharing” platforms for sharing resources or filing complaints.

To support private-led innovation in blockchain Technology, the MSIT has also designated 8 core aspects in which Blockchain will be applied to. These aspects include smart farming, drone technology and autonomous transportation.

In order to secure a competitive edge in blockchain technology, a “Blockchain technical support center” will also be established to provide private enterprises with a testbed for blockchain projects and blockchain reliability evaluation services. This technical support facility is also intended to standardise all blockchain projects and ensure compatibility with industry standards.

As part of the final phase of establishing blockchain industry infrastructure, A number of “Blockchain playgrounds” and a “Blockchain Research Center” will also be created.

“Blockchain playgrounds” provide members of the public with an experiential space to interact with the latest developments in Blockchain technology, and are intended to nurture talent in blockchain technology. 

Via “blockchain playgrounds”, South Korea seeks to “cultivate 10 000 professionals (in the field of blockchain)”.

The “Blockchain Research Center” will provide a central hub for further research in blockchain development. According to the MSIT, it is expected that 3 such research centers will be in operation by the end of this year, with 8 billion won in researching funding per year on a six-year basis.

In addition to establishing “Blockchain playgrounds” and “Blockchain research centers”, South Korea will also provide support for cloud-based Blockchain platform services or Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS). To determine the results of and challenges faced by extensive blockchain technology introduction, a “Block Chain Regulation Improvement Study Group” will also be founded.

The launch of the six pilot Blockchain projects underscores the South Korean government’s preference for leveraging on public-private partnerships to achieve policy objectives. In addition, these projects also reaffirm South Korea’s push towards digital transformation in the 4th Industrial Revolution in order to capitalise on new technologies such Blockchain. 

“Besides the internet, smartphones and artificial intelligence, Blockchain will be the leading technology for digital innovation,” said MSIT Chief of ICT policy division Yang Hwan-Jung. 

"This Blockchain technology development strategy will contribute to innovating the domestic industry and creating a digital society founded on trust".

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