South Korean Telecoms Giant KT Is Reportedly Developing a Local Cryptocurrency

Francisco Memoria

The KT Corporation, a South Korean telecommunications giant, has reportedly been selected to develop a cryptocurrency that’s set to be used in the city of Gimpo in the country, in a test that could see it expand to other local governments.

According to ZDNet Korea, the cryptocurrency will be introduced in April of this year, after a pilot project is run next month. The cryptocurrency, called “K token,” is set to see 11 billion won ($9.7 million) worth of it get issued, and will be usable with local merchants.

The news outlet points out that to pay using the K token, uses will have to scan QR codes, and that merchants who accept payments in the cryptocurrency will be able to request a conversion to fiat that’ll be transferred to their bank accounts, without extra fees.

The head of the blockchain center and KT’s senior vice president Yeong-il Seo was quoted as saying (roughly translated):

Based on the differentiated technology and business competitiveness of the KT blockchain local currency platform, we will successfully carry out [a] local currency business in Gimpo City. The introduction of local currency will contribute to the revitalization of the regional economy.

The company is reportedly planning to expand its cryptocurrency project to other local governments that agree to it, based on its performance in Gimpo. Notably, the KT Corporation has last year ventured into the blockchain sector, as it launched a distributed ledger network that was to be applied to various areas, including ID verification, energy trading, and data roaming.

The move could be seen as a step forward for South Korea, a country that has banned initial coin offerings (ICOs), and that has revealed it’s planning on taxing the fundraising practice if it becomes legal again, as well as cryptocurrencies.

In the country, cryptocurrency exchanges are believed to be vulnerable to hacks, according to a report. This, as only some of the nation’s cryptoasset trading platforms cleared the government’s security checks.