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S Korean Biz Giants Scramble for Blockchain Supremacy

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Three of South Korea’s biggest business groups are looking to step up their blockchain game – as the race to commercialize the technology intensifies.

Executives of KT Group in Seoul. Source: KT Group.

The KT Group, one of the country’s two leading telecoms companies, has announced plans to launch a blockchain-powered platform for managing medical data for hospitals and clinics.

KI News reports that the company has signed a deal with medical healthcare provider Lemon Healthcare that will see the two firms build a database of medical records, prescriptions and other data. The companies say that patients will be allowed to give healthcare professionals consent to view their medical records, with access history logged at every step.

Lemon Healthcare says it already has existing partnerships with some 40 “major” Korean hospitals where the platform could be introduced, and the two companies say they plan to diversify their blockchain offerings in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, the Hanwha Group this week also announced it was launching a blockchain-powered platform that will allow art traders, auctioneers and fine artists to buy and sell works. The company has sealed a deal with Seoul Auction, an auction house that will incorporate its technology.

Per Newsis, Hanwha says the platform will go live “in the second half of 2019” – and will be its first commercialized blockchain offering.

Elsewhere this week, Hyundai Group affiliate Hdac Technology, itself the developer of the HDAC Coin cryptocurrency, plans to add a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) solution to its offerings. Organic Life reports that Hyundai is also working on construction, real estate, financing and production solutions, all powered by blockchain technology.

Almost all of the country’s major conglomerates seem to believe they will be able to monetize blockchain technology, and have been spending big in an effort to steal a march on one another. KT’s biggest rival SK has also been working on its own blockchain platform and an initial coin offering (ICO) consultancy.

Samsung’s IT subsidiary Samsung SDS has been very active, brokering the world’s first ever international shipping deal to be conducted using blockchain technology. The company last month launched its Next Ledger platform. Samsung Electronics piqued the interest of the crypto-world earlier this year with new smartphones that feature a cryptocurrency wallet.

LG is working with one of the country’s top banks, KB, on a digital token or cryptocurrency project.

Tech giants Kakao and Naver have also been active – the former investing in a range of domestic cryptocurrency projects and launching its own blockchain platform. Naver, meanwhile, has been channeling its efforts through Japan-based affiliate Line, which has been active in a range of international crypto exchange projects.