One of the world’s largest cities may soon have its own cryptocurrency, at least if Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon succeeds in his bid to launch “S-Coin.”
Park, who will seek a third term as mayor in the June elections, told CoinDesk Korea that S-Coin — as the cryptocurrency is tentatively named — could be used as a payment mechanism in the South Korean capital to fund public welfare programs or compensate private contractors.
“Seoul is one of the cities that are leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Park said, according to a translation in the Korea Times. “So it’s natural (for the city) to study and invest in new technologies such as blockchain.”
Though he did not give further specifics on S-Coin, Park said that the initiative is a core component of the city’s new “Blockchain master plan,” which will see the metropolis publish clear regulatory guidelines on cryptocurrency and devote public resources toward cultivating a thriving blockchain development sector.
Assuming Park’s plan comes to fruition, Seoul will be the largest city to adopt its own cryptocurrency. However, it may not be the first.
Dubai is reportedly developing a blockchain-based digital currency called “emCash” that will be legal tender for both public and private debts.
Several smaller cities, including Berkeley, CA, have also floated using cryptocurrencies totokenize municipal bonds.
National governments have also begun to eye cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as potential solutions for digitizing their fiat currencies.
Venezuela famously began distributing its NEM-based “Petro” cryptocurrency through an initial coin offering (ICO) in January. Though some analysts still doubt whether the Petro actually exists, the country has marketed the token as a tool to evade US economic sanctions, and other countries — including Russia, Turkey, and Iran — have discussed adopting state-backed cryptocurrencies for similar reasons.
More recently — and for less illicit purposes –the Marshall Islands has passed legislation that will see the island nation launch its own cryptocurrency to phase out its reliance on the US dollar.
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