The Korean military-industrial complex may soon get on the chain.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) recently announced (Korean*) it was launching a trial program to develop new blockchain platforms and services for the defense industry.

The program aims to improve public faith in the defense acquisition process, improve the paper-based bid process itself, better inform the public and make logistics – including the transportation of explosives – more transparent.

It also hopes to jumpstart the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” by promoting the adoption of blockchain across several industrial sectors. This isn’t an unrealistic hope, recall how many of today’s commonplace technologies, including the internet, began as military-related projects.

The government is offering up to KRW 600 million in grants to companies it selects through a bid process. This comes out to about USD 530,000. This isn’t the biggest amount of money the Korean government has ever shelled out on a defense system – to compare, Korea’s recently acquired F-35 multirole fighters cost USD 120 million a piece. But at the same time, DAPA’s acquisition of the F-35 was widely criticized, with Korean authorities investigating allegations of influence peddling in the selection process, the very kind of thing blockchain could help eliminate. Those USD 530,000 might eventually be money very well spent.

Korea is not the only country examining the military potential of blockchain. China, Russia and the United States are looking at military applications of the technology, too, especially for logistics and cyber-security.

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