Seoul, the capital city of South Korea is set to introduce blockchain-based identity cards for all of its citizens.
The country is well known for its forward thinking, technological innovation, and its fondness of all things crypto and blockchain, but this latest announcement is a significant step towards mass adoption of blockchain technology.
With a population of almost 26 million, Seol is the largest city in the country. It is considered as a leading global city with the 4th largest metropolitan economy in the world and its GDP is over $6.3 billion- just behind Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles. It is also home to some of the world’s most well known tech brands including Hyundai, Samsung and LG.
The announcement was reported by Korean media portal Queen.co.kr as an initiative of the cities mayor Park Won-soon. Whilst taking part in an ongoing event called the “Korea Future Forum 2019 & Blockchain Tech Show” he spoke at length about the plans as well as Seoul’s achievements when it comes to embracing new kinds of technology.
“We will implement a blockchain integrated authentication system in Seoul citizen’s card and expand the base for easy access to various administrative services,” he said in a statement.
The Mayor also spoke of the technologies many uses including the storage of data, adding that the value of data is “even more important than before”.
The new initiative will utilise blockchain to collect urban and administrative data that will allow new services to operate. Amongst these new services will be the integrated authentication system of citizen cards, as well as new ways of improving access to a range of administrative services.
“Seoul city will collect urban and administrative data based on the world’s best ICT infrastructure and combine it with innovative technologies such as AI and blockchains to provide new services that have not been available before,” said the mayor.
Whilst some authorities in the city already have blockchain-enabled services such as mobile e-voting and car sales, the concept of blockchain-based ID cards is a new and exciting one. It also forms a part of a five-year plan that was launched at the end of 2018. This plan laid out ways of developing the blockchain industry and the municipality committed to invest around $12 million into a total fund of $88 million.
Then in February 2019, the Seoul Metropolitan government announced that they would be investing a total of $1 billion in blockchain and fintech by 2022. In addition to this, the national financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission announced that they would create regulatory sandbox for nine fintech companies to operate in.
Mayor Won-soon added; “Seoul city will make the leap into the world’s best “smart city” that will transform the paradigm of urban administration based on innovative technologies such as blockchain and big data.”