Korea, Messaging App Kakao Announce Plans for Social Services on the Blockchain

blockchain Kakao social messaging app GroundX

Social messaging app Kakao and a Korean government-backed agency are teaming up to deliver social services on the blockchain, according to details of a new collaboration announced this week.

Kakao’s blockchain subsidiary, GroundX, is to work with the Seoul Digital Foundation, a division of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, to deliver blockchain projects with a specific focus on public services and in particular aimed at solving a number of social issues facing the authorities there.

The collaboration was announced at the firm’s Blockchain for Social Impact event by Lee Jong-gun, who previously worked with the UN on its research into big data applications prior to joining GroundX.

With a specific remit to look at the digitization of infrastructure in Seoul, the collaboration could look at a number of key challenges currently being considered by the Seoul Digital Foundation, including issues around service planning, monitoring and delivery.

While the details of the projects under consideration remain vague at this stage, there are suggestions these could include a number of vital infrastructural and public service concerns.

In his presentation, Lee flagged a number of suggested applications that could benefit from blockchain technology, including monitoring the temperature of vaccines being distributed internationally, as well as a number of other city-specific functions.

However, the CEO of GroundX, Han Jae-sung, cautioned against viewing blockchain technology as a solution to every problem, and explained that a “hybrid approach” between blockchain and legacy systems would arguably prove more effective in the short term.

Still, the collaboration could serve as a working model for further work between government agencies and blockchain firms.

Public administration is considered to be likely to benefit from blockchain applications, which analysts predict could reduce costs and increase efficiency in delivering public services.

Launched back in March, GroundX was set up by the social messaging giant to focus on its blockchain projects, including creating a proprietary blockchain platform, due for release by the end of 2018.

It remains to be seen whether this collaboration can help the government in Seoul improve its systems and processes, by leveraging the unique properties of distributed ledger technology.