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S Korean Food Giant Takes Blockchain Plunge, Banks Make Fintech ‘Leap’

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One of South Korea’s biggest food producers is stepping up its blockchain operations, while banks “leap” into blockchain-powered business incentives.

Source: Nongshim Group, Instagram

The Nongshim Group, a conglomerate with assets worth some USD 2.2 billion, is following the likes of LG and Samsung, who have channeled the bulk of their blockchain operations into affiliate companies. In Nongshim’s case, this is Nongshim Data System (NDS), the group’s IT services arm.

Per a report from Fn News, NDS has agreed to work on a project in conjunction with government ministries and the Korea Internet Development Agency (KISA) for the blockchain technology-powered issuance of HACCP certificates in the country.

HACCP (short for Hazard analysis and critical control points) is a food safety standard developed in the United States, but now used internationally.

In recent years, an increasing number of South Korean companies have sought to obtain certification for their food products – and NDS says the new platform will help stakeholders verify and audit companies that claim their food is HACCP-certified.

NDS has also revealed that it has joined a consortium of companies working on a “smart hospital” project with Seoul Medical Center. The center and a number of pharmacies in the capital plan to issue and process blockchain-powered e-prescriptions, and share medical records via distributed ledger technology.

NDS last year began jointly developing a blockchain platform for beef production, distribution and sale in conjunction with the country’s Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs.

In addition to its food empire, Nongshim also operates retail, chemicals, hotel and engineering businesses.

Meanwhile, news network EKN says South Korea’s banks are “diving” into the fintech sphere, with blockchain now more than a buzzword for commercial banks. As reported last week, KB, Woori, KEB Hana and IBK have already embarked on ambitious new projects of late.

EKN reports that rival banks in the country are also ramping up their efforts, with Nonghyup (NH Bank) launching a blockchain-powered P2P financial certificate, a first in the South Korean banking world.

And competitor Shinhan – which has shelved its plans to build a network of super-secure “cryptocurrency vaults” – is now working on a range of blockchain-powered services, including foreign exchange, credit products, bonds, derivatives, import and export financing.