Editorial

South Korea ploughing money into blockchain pilots and training

Seoul plans to invest $9m between now and the end of 2019 as part of the country’s pursuit of ‘a medium- to long-term plan for expanding blockchain technology’

Posted 27 June 2018 by

South Korea says it will invest 10 billion Korean won – $9m – to support blockchain development with at least six specific pilots in the areas of livestock supply chain management, customs clearance, online voting, real estate transactions, cross-border e-document distribution and shipping logistics.

The Seoul government’s Ministry of Science and ICT published a blockchain development strategy a few days ago that characterised the move as central to the Republic’s pursuit of “a medium- to long-term plan for expanding blockchain technology”.

“We will establish a roadmap for developing blockchain technology and plan to secure 90% of the technology level by 2022 compared to the world’s top countries,” the strategy also promises.

The Ministry will co-ordinate with other government agencies to pursue the pilots in the public sector, with the overriding aim of seeing how better information sharing, efficiency, and transparency, in these public services by using a distributed network might be achieved.

A key area: a new system that could update the information of livestock from their breeding, shipping to sales on a distributed ledger. If there was a related livestock issue, thinks the Ministry’s planners, a follow-up period could be reduced from six days to less than 10 minutes, at least on paper.

Another of the projects, to be conducted with the Ministry of Land and Transport, will look at how real estate, taxation and legal services could be improved or enhanced with blockchain, seeing if relevant information can be shared automatically among different parties.

And in another part of the investment plan, the government is also pumping around $720,000 a year for up to six years to bolster a blockchain research centre to skill up graduates and possibly form a national cohort of 10,000 blockchain specialists by 2022.