Seoul Mayor Plans Cryptocurrency for the Capital City
South Korean capital city, Seoul, plans to launch its own cryptocurrency. Dubbed as “S-Coin”, the currency will be used in the city-funded programs, welfare projects, and compensation for contractors etc.
In a recent interview, the city’s Mayor, Park Won-soon hinted at initiating the program in the near future, as he wishes to make the city excel in adopting leading technologies like blockchain. "As Seoul is the world's leading city in the field of information and communications, I think we should study new technologies such as blockchain," he said.
Mr. Park indicated that the S-Coin will be used as a payment method within the city, city-funded programs, job seekers, and citizens helping the environment by saving energy sources like water, power, and gas. However, given the lack of regulatory support for the cryptocurrencies, and growing concerns over its future, there are certain hurdles as well.
For Park Won-soon, regulatory and legal support is the fundamental requirement which he clearly cites as the foundation stone for the project. According to him, "in order to make an S-Coin, we need to prepare institutional and legal support such as bylaws," support by the government and regulatory authorities is the fundamental requirement.This program is part of a much broader blockchain masterplan for Seoul.
Last year, Seoul’s administration hired Samsung SDS to help in establishing an information strategy plan (ISP) for blockchain-based innovations, services, and city management system. By setting this example, Seoul has become the first city in the country to have a dedicated roadmap for blockchain and future technologies.
However, the Mayor agrees that the fundamental hurdle is still the supportive regulatory environment. "I've met blockchain companies, and I think they are not seeing the light because of the various regulations.” He intends to lobby for easing certain rules and regulations for the cryptocurrency market, as it could enable him to pursue the dream.
Despite growing receptivity and adoption, the cryptocurrency still lacks political and administrative support in South Korea, which banned ICOs a few months ago. If the government can employ the available space and talent, the digital currencies or blockchain ecosystem at large could help it deal with a number of financial and administrative affairs.
Seoul is the Largest but Not the first!
If you are wondering about this, Seoul is not the first city to announce an initiative like this. In Estonia, the government is trying to explore the ways blockchain could help in improving the administrative processes and public service. Policymakers intend to use blockchain to end bureaucratic and administrative hurdles in serving the citizens.
Dubai is also (reportedly) working on a blockchain-powered digital currency named “emCash” that will be the legal tender for both public and private debts. In the United States, a number of smaller cities like Berkeley have floated the idea of using cryptocurrencies to tokenize municipal bonds and other services.
In addition, a number of governments and nations like Venezuela, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, and Japan are eyeing blockchain and digital currencies as a potential solution to their financial and administrative problems. However, it is yet to be seen if any of these countries announces a pilot project based on the blockchain concepts.
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