The Hustle

Crypto cool-kid Seoul announces plans for a citywide cryptocurrency called ‘S-Coin’

Residents of the South Korean capital will soon use a city-funded cryptocurrency called S-Coin for everything from subway rides to kids’ allowances -- part of a master plan to create a comprehensive blockchain bureaucracy in Seoul. “As Seoul is the...


April 4, 2018

Residents of the South Korean capital will soon use a city-funded cryptocurrency called S-Coin for everything from subway rides to kids’ allowances — part of a master plan to create a comprehensive blockchain bureaucracy in Seoul.

“As Seoul is the world’s leading city in the field of information and communications… I think we should study new technologies such as blockchains,” Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon recently humble-bragged to CoinDesk.

If you can’t beat ’em, coin ’em

As recently as 4 months ago, South Korea vocally opposed blockchain for fear that North Korea would keep using it to pick their pockets — and they went as as far as considering taxing crypto-speculation and banning crypto accounts for minors.

But South Koreans are the biggest crypto-consumers after Japanese and Americans, and Korean crypto-startups raise $89m a month. So as coin-trading hysteria subsided, Seoul hired Samsung’s enterprise IT consultancy in November 2017 to coin their crypto dreams a reality.

A classic case of keeping up with the Won-soons

As soon as crypto cool-kid Korea put on blockchain pants, other governments wanted a pair. But some are ditching their cash-padded diapers for big-kid crypto-khakis too quickly — Venezuela’s state cryptocurrency, the Petro, has been laughed off as a scam.

As the efficiency and security benefits of “Centralized Digital Currencies” like S-Coin become increasingly obvious, governments from Estonia to the US are exploring their options — just more slowly than Venezuela.

After all, they put their crypto pants on just like us — one leg at a time.

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