China has made headlines in the cryptocurrency industry with the news they are planning to launch their own cryptocurrency in 2021. However, it is more likely that this will happen in 2022. Back in 2018, the then-mayor of Seoul, Park Won-soon announced that he wanted to launch the S-Coin for Seoul’s public services such as transportation. However, with his sudden death, the launch of the S-Coin could be pushed back to 2022. The S-Coin will be a program run by the Korean government with the help of Samsung SDS and ICONLOOP.

The early signs of Seoul launching its own digital currency can be seen in the government’s crackdown on illegitimate cryptocurrency businesses in Korea. They are cracking down hard on cryptocurrency being used for money laundering and scams. Korean youth who are looking towards crypto as alternative investments are the most susceptible to crypto scams. New laws are already in place for virtual asset providers to register with financial authorities. This is a very complicated process. The Financial Services Commission in Korea has full authority to monitor all inflows and outflows of cryptocurrency in Korea. Any suspicious transactions can be prosecuted by the national tax service. These could be early steps in order to weed out other forms of cryptocurrency that could interfere with their own digital currency like the S-Coin or another government-backed coin.

How will the S-Coin in Seoul work?

The first stage of the S-Coin will involve processing payments on public transportations like subways and buses. Then later it will be given to residents living in Seoul who do municipal services. These municipals’ services include participating in public polls and paying their taxes. In addition, the S-Coin could be used as a youth allowance in Seoul. A select group of students that attend middle and high schools that are from low-income families will get a monthly allowance in the form of S-Coins from the government. The S-Coin can be redeemed at convenience stores all across Seoul.

The S-Coin will be integrated with ZeroPay (Seoul’s sponsored QR-code-enabled network). It allows residents in Seoul to pay for their goods and services using their smartphones.

So far 14 public services will be the first organizations and programs to use S-Coin. These include document administration, labor welfare, and vehicle registration just to name a few.

The Seoul government expects that the S-Coin will be a crucial first step in making Seoul into Asia’s first smart city. The Korean president, Moon Jae-in, is supportive of Blockchain technologies for Korea. He wants to create real use cases such as Seoul’s S-Coin to greatly contribute to the revitalization of Korea’s economy.

ICONLOOP and Seoul to Build New Blockchain Services

ICONLOOP and SEOULICONLOOP will work with Seoul to develop a Seoul Citizens Card that will offer digital authentication for the use of public services. In addition, they will work together to create an easier way for temporary employees to sign contracts with their employers. The Blockchain-based system will keep track of their work history, timesheets, and help them register for insurance programs in Korea. Furthermore, they will look into donation management, healthcare management, and online certificate verification in the future.

It is highly likely that the S-Coin will be based on the ICON network, however, this has not been officially announced.

Seoul to Become a Smart City by 2022

The Seoul government aims to turn Seoul into a Blockchain-based Smart City by 2022. This means in 2022, citizens living in Seoul will be using the S-Coin as part of a citizen’s reward system. Their budget to make this a reality is a little over $100 million. Besides the rewards system, the Seoul Citizens Card will also be improved with Blockchain. Blockchain technology will allow for easy verification for citizens in Seoul who need to use certain public services.

The services include Blockchain for healthcare, authentication of credentials, and also to make donations as transparent as possible. The Blockchain system as a whole will be fully owned by the Korean government but run by the private sector. In addition, in Gyeonggi-do, they held the 2020 Korea Basic Income Fair which explained the Youth Basic Income Program which gave 24-year-olds in Gyeonggi local currency in the form of a prepaid card.

Two Complexes for Blockchain Startups in Seoul for 2021

The Seoul government announced that it will spend $53 million to build two complexes for over 200 Blockchain startups in Seoul.

Blockchain Petition System in Seoul

Seoul already launched a Blockchain petition voting system. Residents in Seoul can now make suggestions to the Seoul government about possible changes to existing policies or suggest new policies. Blockchain technology comes in for the verification of the resident to make sure they are residents of Seoul and to prevent duplicate votes. In the past, South Korea allowed its citizens to submit a petition online and if it got more than 200,000 votes, the Blue House would address it publicly. The Seoul Blockchain petition system will only be for Seoul residents. Therefore only 1,000 votes are required for the Seoul government to respond. Best of all, since the system is built on the Blockchain, there will be no issues regarding double voting and false identities.

Blockchain in Seoul

The launch of S-Coin will only be the start of incorporating Blockchain technologies in the city. Seoul already has partnered with Samsung SDS. Eventually, they will work together to use the S-Coin as a payment method for Seoul’s welfare programs. The end goal is to allow residents in Seoul to vote online. Therefore they will be able to challenge parking tickets from the comfort of their homes. Blockchain technology can make it easier for residents in Seoul to fill out online applications. This will be done by storing their personal data such as name, date of birth, bank accounts, etc, on the Blockchain. Seoul is also developing an identity document for use within the National Blockchain system. This will allow for Blockchain startups in Korea to have an infrastructure in place to allow for innovation and growth.