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South Korean Silicon Valley Turns to Blockchain-powered Pay

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Seongnam, a major satellite city on the outskirts of the capital Seoul, South Korea, is set to expand its blockchain-powered payment program with a new digital gift certificate issuance project.

Source: Adobe/weyo

The new platform will make use of an app called Chak, and will be built by the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation (KOMSCO) – now the operator of scores of local stablecoin and blockchain-powered digital gift token projects nationwide.

The firm said its stablecoin and blockchain projects have helped it post record-breaking operating profits this year.

Seongnam is one of the biggest tech cities in Gyeonggi Province – where three major stablecoins are currently going strong. The province’s government has spoken out about the possibility of stepping up its stablecoin initiatives in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic – and is even contemplating a universal basic income project that makes use of local stablecoins.

But although the latest project makes use of blockchain technology, it is not a token, per se.

Instead, per Kyunghyang Shinmun, Seongnam authorities said that the digital gift certificates will be issued via the Chak app, but will be able to function without the need for QR codes – using existing credit and debit card reader technology. This, said the authorities, will make it easier for elderly and middle-aged residents to use and understand.

Residents will instead be issued with a PIN that they will need to enter in order to process a payment.

The authorities stated that 45,000 merchants in Seongnam would be able to accept the gift certificates, and claimed that younger residents preferred digital payment methods to paper-based alternatives.

Some 13,837 merchants based in Seongnam would also be able to accept mobile payments using the certificates, they added.

The city has over 1 million residents, and is the home of the Pangyo Tech Valley, an IT complex built to mirror America’s Silicon Valley. The complex houses the headquarters of tech giants like the Kakao Group, software firm AhnLabs, gaming behemoth (and crypto exchange owner) Nexon and two major SK Telecom subsidiaries.
Learn more: Local Stablecoin in Sleepy South Korean County Is a Runaway Success