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S. Korea’s Conglomerates Rushing into Blockchain Projects
Set to Roll out Commercial Blockchain Services
S. Korea’s Conglomerates Rushing into Blockchain Projects
  • By Michael Herh
  • March 5, 2019, 10:37
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South Korea’s leading IT companies are planning to roll out their new blockchain-based commerical services starting from the first half of the year. They have been developing blockchain-based services since last year when the blockchain fever swept throughout the country.

Domestic companies that have joined the rush into blockchain projects include Samsung Electronics Co., the nation’s three mobile carriers including SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp., and internet giants such as Naver Corp. and Kakao Corp.

SK Telecom disclosed its plan to launch a blockchain-based identification business at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, the world’s largest mobile technology event, held in Barcelona, Spain. The company announced its partnership with Deutsche Telekom AG to create a global mobile identification card. It demonstrated at its booth how the mobile identification card would actually work. The blockchain-based identification system can be applied to purchasing tickets and other products online and to issuing driver’s licenses, identification cards and passports.

KT and LG Uplus are also expanding their blockchain business. KT announced its blockchain-based internet service plans last year and introduced its blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, which allows companies to easily develop blockchain services. The company is promoting a blockchain-based donation system, a blockchain-based video on demand (VOD) management system and blockchain-based local currency services.

LG Uplus displayed a blockchain-based payment service using QR codes at MWC 2019. The company stressed that foreign credit card payment, which usually takes three to five days, can be approved in real time by making use of blockchain technology.

Samsung Electronics also officially announced its blockchain business. The Samsung Galaxy S10 flagship smartphone to be launched on March 8 comes with a crypto wallet “Blockchain Key Store,” which allow users to store private cryptocurrency keys, which are needed to exchange cryptocurrencies or use blockchain-based services.

The Galaxy S10 has the potential to be used as a platform for blockchain-based services. Some market experts said that Samsung Electronics can install various blockchain-based services in its smartphones and connect Samsung Pay and cryptocurrency payment in the future.

In addition, Naver and Kakao are aggressively expanding their blockchain projects. Naver is promoting blockchain projects through its Japanese subsidiary, LINE Corp., while Kakao is using its subsidiary, Ground X Corp.

LINE is integrating its mobile messenger service “LINE” and existing services, such as “LINE games” and “LINE Music,” with cryptocurrency reward systems using the blockchain technology. The system gives a reward to content users and creators with cryptocurrency “LINK” through LINE’s LINK Chain.

Kakao’s Ground X is also investing aggressively to advance its blockchain platform “Klaytn.” The company will officially open its mainnets within the first half of the year and unveil numerous blockchain-based services, including decentralized applications (DApps). When the mainnets are launched, Kakao’s existing services will also be integrated with the blockchain technology.