South Korean Telecom Giant Invests in Blockchain

SK Telecom

South Korean telecommunications giant SK Telecom has signed a joint agreement with other blockchain firms aimed at developing a digital wallet that can support cryptocurrencies, non fungible tokens, and digital credentials, including memberships and certifications.

Blockchain is a decentralized, immutable database that makes it easier to track assets and record transactions in a specific network. An asset may be physical (such as a home, car, money, or land) or intangible (intellectual property, patents, copyrights, branding). Blockchain improves the traceability, security, trustworthiness, and transparency of data shared across this network while generating new efficiencies that save costs.

Originally used to facilitate bitcoin transactions, blockchain has expanded its uses. It's helpful to think of blockchain technology as a type of next-generation business process improvement software. The technology has in numerous benefits, including facilitating international payments, digital inclusion, and ID verification, other than being an important tool for regulatory compliance and audits, money laundering protection, record management, financial management, and accounting, among other things. Most importantly, blockchain helps circumvent traditional financial institutions by enabling the delivery of financial services through the internet and mobile phones. Southeast Asia may stand to gain the most from blockchain's potential for development compared to any other area. It has a high internet penetration rate of 58 percent as a region. And South Korea stands out amongst the countries in the region.

South Korea is known for having one of the fastest internet networks around the world. Paired with the high availability of high-speed internet, it is no surprise that 93 percent of the people in the country use the internet and 91 percent of the population has access to mobile connectivity. That's why, as one of the largest mobile operators in South Korea, SK Telecom introducing a user-friendly crypto wallet will have positive implications for blockchain adoption there. As of December 2021, nearly 30 million people in South Korea have mobile subscriptions through SK Telecom roughly 58% of the country's total population.

With the increase in the adoption of blockchain technology by the private sector, the government in Seoul will undoubtedly further recognize the benefits of the technology, beyond financial digital inclusion and private ID verification. At a national level, blockchain can help safeguard data, improve operations, and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in government services while also increasing trust and accountability. It could even be used for voting; incorporating blockchain technology into the voting process could potentially eliminate election fraud and even boost voter turnout.

With these potential benefits in mind, partnerships between private and public sector become could become highly attractive. The idea here is to use the know-how and infrastructure already developed by established companies and build systems suitable to the government goals. SK Telecom could be an interesting partner, given its penetration in the country, but it's unlikely to be the only possible one. This article just used this company as an example to highlight the following argument: blockchain is shaping the future and governments should be riding this wave.