In yet another example of the Korean government’s openness to blockchain regardless of its reservations about cryptocurrencies, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki released on Oct. 14 the so-called “Development Plan for Digital Trade” which leverages cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, 5G and AI to improve the nation’s trade environment and bolster exports by 2021.

According to CoinDesk Korea, the plan calls for, among other things, the digitalization of evidential documents for foreign exchange transactions by trading companies. Currently, companies must submit to banks contracts and other documentary evidence whenever they make foreign currency transactions of USD 5,000 or more. The government plans to let companies store these documents on the blockchain and share them with banks in real time.

The plan also calls for the digitalization of export bonds. This, too, would store information about export bonds on the blockchain to share with banks in order to prevent duplicate issues and over purchases. Cooperating with banks, the government will begin with remittance-style export bonds and expand to all kinds of export bonds, including letters of credit.

The government will also launch this month a Digital Trade Blockchain Council to discuss the construction of blockchain networks for trade. Participating in the council will be banks, banking associations, trade associations and the Korea Trade Network.

Korea is not the only country interested in the possibilities blockchain offers international trade.

Blockchain in trade finance is an area of intense interest globally, and considerable progress appears to have been achieved already,” writes Richard Meyer at CoinDesk.Voltron has brought together some of the world’s largest financial institutions, China Construction Bank is claiming that it is already processing huge volumes on its blockchain trade-finance platform, while UBS took live earlier this month.”

Also in the Korea blockchain space…

(By Jack Morse, Mashable, Oct. 18)

Authorities were able to trace Bitcoin payments made to the site in question back to the alleged perpetrators,” writes Jack Morse at Mashable. That’s because, as we can never repeat often enough, contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin is only pseudonymous.” Relatedly, one wonders how the recent arrests might affect cryptocurrency policies in Korea. That authorities were able to use Bitcoin to track down the people involved might put at ease the minds of regulators worried about the use of cryptocurrency in illicit activities. But the fact that Bitcoin was used at all could have the opposite effect. 

(By Kim Eun-jin, BusinessKorea, Oct. 18)

Eight new blockchain projects have joined Klaytn as service partners. That brings the platform’s number of partners to 47, 17 of which have already launched services.

(By Richard Meyer, CoinDesk, Oct. 17)

Samsung’s IT solution developer will be launching this month a blockchain-based medical claims processing network that aims to simplify the currently complex medical insurance claims system. When the system is operational, users will receive a message on the KakaoTalk messenger after treatment,” writes Richard Meyer at CoinDesk. They can then press a receipt button and an insurance claim button, after which their information is sent to the insurer.”