During his nine-day-long visit to Europe, Park Won-soon, mayor of Seoul, revealed that the South Korean capital is planning to implement blockchain technology across a number of key areas in the city’s government over the next five years.
The Blockchain Urban Plan will see the technology added to 14 public services in the city. The budget for the plan stands at estimaded 123 billion Korean won ($108 million). Services that will see blockchain introduction include voting, labor welfare certification issuance, etc.
The mayor visited the Swiss town of Zug, also known as the “crypto valley”. The town has gained fame among blockchain entrepreneurs for its pro-crypto regulatory and tax policy. Even though the town can boast only around 30,000 inhabitants, it is home to 32,000 companies, with many of them being related to blockchain in one way or another. The city used blockchain in a municipal vote this summer
Mr. Park claimed that, “It is the plan of the Seoul city government to create an ecosystem of blockchain here, with hopes that the city will be globally recognized as a blockchain hub. We will try to attract many blockchain experts into Seoul, just like Zug. For this, we will need to establish an environment that is friendly for innovative blockchain companies.“
He has also added that an additional 60 billion won ($53 million) will be allocated to the development of complexes for blockchain companies in Gaepo Digital Innovation Park and the Seoul Innovation Hub. An estimated 200 blockchain startups will be able to use the new facilities which will be built by 2021. A fund for small and medium-sized blockchain companies that struggle to launch their businesses has also been set up. They can receive up to 1 billion won ($890,000) in funding.
The mayor praised the distributed ledger tech, claiming that, “Blockchain is an innovative technology that can bring a fundamental change to a society. It has caught the world’s attention as a technology that boosts the competitive edge of a city’s economy. Seoul has its strength in the ICT sector already. With blockchain technology, the city has the potential to be the best in this field in the world.“
The Seoul government estimates there currently are around 600 blockchain experts in the city. The officials want to double that number by 2022 and, to achieve that, will run blockchain training programs. Park has also revealed how blockchain will be merged with existing online voting platform and an online recommendation platform, both currently developed by the city government.
The mayor is hopeful that blockchain will bring about direct democracy in Seoul, which is so prevalent in Switzerland. On average, Swiss citizens vote 4 times a year. According to Park, “For example, residents of an apartment complex in Seoul will be able to vote on whether they should renovate the apartment complex together. With blockchain technology, they will be able to trust the results, and this will help more people vote.“
The Plan comes to light just months after Park was re-elected as the mayor of Seoul. One of his campaign promises was the pledge to increase support for blockchain development and it seems the mayor stayed true to his word. South Korea is already among the global crypto leaders and with the blockchain-friendly mayor of the capital, things continue to look on the up.
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I have been following the crypto markets since mid 2017, just in time to witness the incredible surge of the digital asset industry. Fascinated by the potential of blockchain technology I’ve started to dig deeper and that’s how I ended up meeting the Toshi Times team. I hold a Political Science degree, therefore the crypto regulation development is particularly interesting for me. I’m also heavily involved with music, running my own label, a YouTube channel and working with distribution. People call blockchain the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and I believe it will change our daily lives in the coming years and we will have the front row seats to witness it.