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S Korea Doubles Down on Blockchain, Samsung Strikes International Deal

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The South Korean government has vowed to step up its investment in blockchain technology – but appears to have little faith in the future of cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, the country’s biggest company, Samsung, has struck another key international blockchain deal.

Source: iStock/johan10

The Ministry of Science and ICT has issued a new booklet stating that it wants blockchain technology to be applied to “every stratum of society” in the near future, reports Boan News.

The same media outlet quotes a senior ministry official as stating that blockchain technology adoption could lead to huge economic benefits in South Korea. However, the official added that “conflicts with existing laws and systems” and perceptions surrounding the technology’s “negative uses” needed to be resolved.

As previously reported, the central government has adopted a two-tiered approach to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology – all but vilifying the former, while championing the latter. This policy has drawn veiled criticism from the likes of Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

The new booklet spells this policy out more vividly than ever, stating:

“Now that the bubble of cryptocurrency investment has been done away with, it is time to concentrate on the growth potential of blockchain technology. We must develop new business models based on blockchain technology and move ahead of the market.”

The booklet has been distributed to other government agencies in a bid to streamline blockchain adoption throughout the public and private sectors.

Meanwhile, Seoul Metropolitan Government authorities state that they will this year develop a range of additional public services that it will operate on blockchain-powered platforms. According to Today Korea, these services pertain to the following:

  • Paperless qualification certificates
  • Government-operated loyalty points
  • Citizen ID cards
  • Systems that protect the rights of part-time workers/subcontractors
  • Democratic processes

Meanwhile, Samsung’s IT services arm, Samsung SDS, has struck a deal with Tech Mahindra, the tech arm of India’s own business monolith, the Mahindra Group.

The Samsung SDS-Tech Mahindra deal will see both countries “explore blockchain-related business opportunities in India, the United States and Europe” using the Samsung SDS Nexledger blockchain platform, reports Yonhap News.

Samsung has been channeling the majority of its blockchain activities through Samsung SDS in the past few years; and most recently established a Nextledger accelerator initiative.

Mahindra already has considerable interests in South Korea. In 2011, it took over SsangYong, one of the East Asian nation’s largest auto manufacturers.