South Korea Telecoms Giant Ramps Up Blockchain Roaming Deal With China

South Korea’s largest telecoms provider, KT Corporation, is boosting a partnership with China Mobile targeting blockchain technology and 5G roaming.

As local English-language news outlet The Korea Herald reported on Dec. 5, KT is preparing to debut 5G roaming capabilities in China later this month. 

KT Corp. eyes B.Link blockchain rollout

At the same time, the companies are working on a blockchain system which will allow them to save time and costs when computing roaming charges for mobile users. 

According to The Korea Herald, the B.Link system is able to “self-analyze roaming data from the two carriers and can process roaming charges on a real-time basis.”

The news comes around six months after KT revealed it had built a blockchain network of its own. KT Network Blockchain similarly targets roaming, along with other use cases such as user identification.

That announcement in turn followed KT’s Blockchain-as-a-Service, or BaaS, which aims to ease access to the technology for South Korean firms. 

Telecoms embraces blockchain potential

As Cointelegraph reported, both South Korea and China have thrown their weight behind blockchain technology, the latter making it part of formal state policy in a widely-reported publicity campaign last month. 

Enthusiasm is also palpable in South Korea, with technology giant Kakao Corporation describing its Klaytn blockchain offering as being more advanced than Facebook’s Libra project in recent comments.

For the telecoms industry specifically, blockchain meanwhile should bring $1 billion of added value by 2023, according to a study published last year.

South Korean Startup Claims to Have Solved Blockchain’s Speed Problem

The South Korean-based firm Bloom Technology announced that they have created a new technology that is able to speed up transactions on the blockchain.

On Dec. 3, United Press International reported that Bloom Technology’s CEO, Lee Sang-yoon, said that the company’s Locus Chain technology has been able to reduce blockchain transaction processing times to fractions of a second. 

One single blockchain transaction takes less than 0.23 seconds

The company reportedly conducted a public test with 635 participating nodes to reveal the transaction speed of the Locus Chain technology. The results showed that a single blockchain transaction took between 0.13-0.23 seconds. Korea Blockchain Association Vice Chairman Moon Young-bae commented on the tests:

“Locus Chain is still under development to become a complete version. But I believe that the technology is already commercially viable […] I think it is a real deal.”

Lee further hinted at the importance of faster blockchain transactions by pointing out that transactions at present often take “more than 10 minutes for cryptocurrencies and even longer than an hour for Bitcoin.” 

South Korea to provide a legal basis for crypto

In November, South Korea’s National Assembly national policy committee passed a bill designed to provide a legal basis for crypto in the country and bring regulatory clarity and transparency to crypto markets in South Korea. The bill still needs to be approved by the judiciary committee, but, if approved, the law would come into force in 2020.

This is not the first attempt by South Korean authorities to provide more regulatory clarity to crypto markets. In early 2018, South Korean regulators banned anonymous trading on crypto exchanges in line with anti-money laundering and identification efforts in the country.

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