Oh Se-hyeon, head of SK Telecom‘s blockchain business unit
Image: Oh Se-hyeon, head of SK Telecom‘s blockchain business unit, speaks during a press conference in Seoul on April 24, 2018, SK Telecom

SK Telecom (SKT), a South Korean telecommunications operator, is looking to adopt blockchain technology for identity management, improved payments and asset management, the firm announced on Tuesday.

Oh Se-hyeon, the executive vice president of SKT’s blockchain unit, said the firm is planning to launch a blockchain-based asset management and payment services.

“The service will allow users to manage all bank accounts, credit cards, mileage points and other non-financial assets, including cryptocurrencies, in one basket, and enable transactions of the assets based on trust,” Oh said.

Subscriptions and verification processes for services will be managed by a blockchain-based digital real-name authentication program.

Additionally, SKT said it will launch a platform called the Token Exchange Hub that will allow startups and small and medium-sized enterprises to conduct initial coin offerings (ICOs) transparently and safely. The company said it will not engage in ICOs or issue cryptocurrencies but will offer technological and financial consultations for startups.

“We will take the lead in creating an ecosystem that will benefit both businesses, individuals, and users who want to do business using blockchain technology,” Oh said.

The South Korean firm established its blockchain unit in late-2017 to find new business opportunities.

The move comes on the hills of a similar announcement made by another South Korean teleco firm, Korea Telecom (KT), which announced last month that it plans to better protect its infrastructure with a blockchain-powered security solution.

The new infrastructure, which the firm has been developing for the past three years, will allow people and businesses to earn rewards for using their own data.

Speaking to the Korea Herald, the head of the company’s blockchain center at the Institute of Convergence Technology said:

“By using blockchain technologies, data will be secured from hackers as transmitted through the unforgeable blockchain network and users will be transmitting their own data with one another based on trust with no need to rely on third-party OTT businesses.”

South Korea, which banned ICOs in September 2017, is currently preparing a policy plan to allow token sales.

“The financial authorities have been talking to the country’s tax agency, justice ministry and other relevant government offices about a plan to allow ICOs in Korea when certain conditions are met,” a source told the Korea Times.

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