Korean Province to Issue Own Crypto
The South Korean province of Gyeongsangbuk-do has revealed that the effort to replace local currencies with a cryptocurrency has begun, Joongang Ilbo reported this week.
Also known as Gyeongbuk, the eastern South Korean province has been attempting to replace city-issued gift certificates with a cryptocurrency. Currently, nine cities of Gyeongsangbuk-do separately issue their own gift certificates, which are local currencies that can be used in selected areas of the province, the publication explained.
According to Naver, 60 municipalities nationwide, including nine cities in Gyeongsangbuk-do, currently use gift certificates as local currencies aimed at revitalizing local economies and preventing capital flight.
Pohang, one of the largest cities in the province with over half a million inhabitants, is the nation’s largest issuer of these gift certificates, according to Kyongbuk daily newspaper. In May, the news outlet reported that the city had sold 100 billion won (~US$ 90 million) worth of the Pohang gift certificates since January last year.
According to Joongang Ilbo, the province’s Science and Technology Policy Department announced on August 27:
10 banks, mobile communication companies, a university research team and government officials of Gyeongsangbuk-do will gather for the first time for the issuance of the cryptocurrency.
The tentative name of the cryptocurrency that Gyeongsangbuk-do is planning to issue is Gyeongbuk coin, the publication noted, adding that the first of the 100 billion won (~$90 million) annual issuance is expected in the first half of next year.
The province plans to create an exchange where Gyeongbuk coins can be purchased and sold. The coins can be used for payments and merchants can accept them using smartphone QR codes, the news outlet detailed.
Chung Sung-hyun, head of the province’s Science and Technology Policy Department, was quoted saying:
There are still many issues to be resolved…[such as] notifying merchants of the way they can use [the] coins, creating separate programs and issuing [the] coins (cryptocurrencies).
Gyeongsangbuk-do recently sent a benchmarking team to the canton of Zug in Switzerland, which is home to many crypto startups such as Shapeshift, Xapo, and the Ethereum Foundation. The team, consisting of 10 members including some outside experts, met with a number of government officials and local businesses.
Following a series of meetings, a Gyeongsangbuk-do official was quoted by Sedaily saying “I think we can utilize the experience gained through benchmarking by making the identity cards for 5,000 Gyeongbuk provincial government employees like Zug as blockchain-based digital ID cards.”
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