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S Korea: Political Parties Turn to Blockchain

S Korea: Political Parties Turn to Blockchain 101
Source: iStock/Niyazz

South Korean political parties are debating the idea of using blockchain technology as part of the democratic process, with advocates calling for the introduction of blockchain-powered voting systems.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Kim Byong-joon, of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) – the country’s biggest opposition party – claimed the LKP was “keeping an eye on blockchain developments” as the party embarks on far-reaching reforms following two crushing election defeats. Kim was speaking at a meeting of LKP MPs held on August 22.

Per news outlet Maeil Kyungjae, LKP MP for Seoul’s Dongjak district Na Kyung-won went a step further, stating, “Blockchain democracy is the way ahead for the [LKP]. Many of our supporters are traditionally older and are concentrated in certain key regions. Opening new digital channels will help us transition away from being an ‘offline’ party.’”

A number of political parties in the country have expressed an interest in using blockchain technology solutions to expedite the decision-making process, and many now want to use digitized, decentralized voting systems for candidate nominations and other processes.

Also this week, the Bareunmirae Party, another major opposition party, held a debate on how best to implement blockchain-powered solutions as part of its operations. Bareunmirae MP Kim Kwan-yeong said, "We should [use blockchain technology to] change our party structure and make the decision-making process more democratic and efficient. Such a system could help us react more promptly to the demands of our party members and constituents.”

Kim Sung-sik, the chairman of Bareunmirae’s political reform committee, said, that blockchain technology could help his party “reflect the opinions of party members and members of the public,” and hinted that the technology could also be used to form policy.

Members of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) have also expressed an interest in exploring blockchain technology’s possible democratic uses. Current DP MP and former minister Kim Jin-pyo has previously spoken in favor of the introduction of an electronic voting system based on blockchain technology, saying that the technology could provide “stable decision-making” and “actively ensure participation” in the democratic process.

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