Park Won-soon, the Mayor of South Korean Capital Seoul, has announced intentions to pursue the development of blockchain technology in the city. Won-soon stated that there will be a digital currency created for use in Seoul, as well as the setting up of groups dedicated to exploring blockchain technologies and their future implications.
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According to a local news source, Hani, Won-soon announced his intentions at the opening of CoinDesk Korea in the Seoul City Office on March 22. He stated:
“Given that Seoul has become a leader in the fourth industrial revolution in areas including information technology, it will have to continue exploring and studying revolutionary technologies like blockchain.”
He went on to declare that he would work towards preparing an institutional and legal framework for the creation of the Seoul digital currency that will be known as “S Coin”. He also committed to efforts at changing the current attitudes of the South Korean central government towards cryptocurrency in general. This would allow the necessary laws and regulations to facilitate such a financial tool.
The Seoul mayor continued to address the potential uses of blockchain technology for a modern capital city such as Seoul. He stated that this would translate into economic benefits for the citizens of his city. These would include savings on electricity, water, and gas, as well as supporting youngsters seeking employment:
“Blockchain technology is applicable to public infrastructures like the public transportation system and issuance of youth allowance payments. I truly believe blockchain technology can be used to power most of the government activities in Seoul.”
Hani state that such initiatives are expected to be included in Seoul’s blockchain planning that is due for completion this April. They also report that as of November last year, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will be collaborating with Samsung SDS to establish an Information Strategy Plan for blockchain innovation in the city. These are the first steps being made towards introducing blockchain to government and public institutions.
Finally, the mayor addressed the existing attitudes in the wider country of South Korea towards cryptocurrency and blockchain. He referred explicitly to the outrage of the public when rumours of a ban on cryptocurrency trading were hinted at earlier this year:
“Previously, the South Korean people protested strongly against the Ministry of Justice’s plan to ban cryptocurrency trading, and that led to the government deeply reconsidering its stance towards cryptocurrencies. The role of provincial and regional governments, I believe, is to apply innovative technologies first and demonstrate progress to the federal government. If Seoul lessens restrictions on cryptocurrency and blockchain development, it will lead to a flexible environment for businesses.”