The Ministry of Science and ICT has come up with a blockchain technology development strategy aimed at securing a global competitive edge in this emerging technology, which is widely regarded as a game changer for businesses and industries.
The ministry will start six pilot projects to spur the development of the new technology, promote its diffusion to a wide array of industries and make it more familiar to ordinary people.
The six pilot projects include livestock history management, personal customs clearance, simple real estate transactions, online voting, international electronic document distribution, and maritime logistics.
As for livestock history management, a blockchain-based system will be built to collect and share all the information about animals in each stage of their life cycle, ranging from breeding to slaughtering and sales. This will shorten the tracking process from six days to less than 10 minutes when problems occur.
In the case of real estate transactions, there will be no need for citizens to visit several institutes such as community service centers or the National Tax Service in order to submit documents to their banks for a mortgage. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and local governments will share the land register so citizens can take out a loan with just one visit to a bank.
Online voting will be available where votes cast online are stored in blockchain, so stakeholders such as candidates and observers can verify the voting process and share the results directly.
A smart personal clearance system will be launched where a shopping mall, an express delivery company, and the Korea Customs Service will share information on customs clearance through blockchain, enabling real-time import report.
"The general public will be able to experience blockchain technology in their lives through trial runs at the end of this year at the earliest," said an official from the Ministry of Science and ICT.
The ministry is also planning to implement a private-led blockchain national project to help citizens experience the benefits of blockchain technology and reduce unnecessary social costs.
In order to support private-sector innovation, it decided to apply blockchain technology first in eight innovative growth projects such as Smart City, Smart Factory, Drone, and FinTech.
In addition, the ministry will provide performance evaluations and support for cultivating professional personnel so that domestic companies can develop a competitive blockchain platform.
By 2022, it aims to increase the number of specialized blockchain companies with global competitiveness to more than 100 by securing 90% of the technological capability of the world's top countries and cultivating 10,000 experts.
"By 2022, the domestic blockchain market will be expanded to 1 trillion won. Then about 10,000 workers will be needed," a ministry official said.
The government has also decided to establish a blockchain technical support center to improve technology competitiveness of private companies and provide a large-scale test environment where companies can test their blockchain platforms and services from next year.
It will also run an evaluation system that can objectively test the reliability and performance of these platforms and services.
In addition, it will operate “Blockchain Playground (tentative name)” where citizens can learn and experience the latest blockchain technology and services, and expand blockchain research centers that will cultivate master and doctor level blockchain experts from one last year to three this year.