SK Telecom released a blueprint for the development of its blockchain platform. A local publication, The Korea Herald, last month reported that the South Korean telecommunications provider would release an asset management service based on blockchain technology and a platform for linking blockchain startups and investors.
The blueprint comes from SK Telecom’s blockchain unit, which it formed last year, and outlines three areas that the unit will focus on as it develops the technology.
First, the telco will use blockchain to create digital real-name authentication to assist in and simplify the process of subscribing to customer service and of managing personal authentication of services.
SK Telecom is using the technology for both asset management services and payment services. The blueprint expands on this saying that it will help with the management of both financial and non-financial assets, and in addition it will be personalized to match a “user’s lifestyle.” These financial assets include bank accounts, credit cards, mileage, and cryptocurrency, which it files under non-financial assets. It notes that the real-name authentication will also come into play here as it adds reliability and transparency by verifying and tracking of transactions.
Finally, it will start a cryptocurrency ecosystem, called the Token Exchange Hub, that is intended to “create social value of the blockchain.” The hub will be used to provide support and advice to startups and small and medium businesses that are creating digital tokens through its initial coin offering (ICO), though it will not issue virtual coins. Presumably, this hub will also connect these startups to investors.
Interestingly, South Korea banned the trading of cryptocurrency in February in an effort to block illegal and unfair activities surrounding the currency. However, the country said it would continue to support the development of blockchain.
SK Telecom is not the only telecommunications provider dipping its toes in blockchain. Verizon has also announced that it will launch a portfolio of services based on blockchain later this year.
Additionally, Huawei recently said it is working on a Hyperledger-based blockchain-as-a-service platform and on a Hyperledger joint project called Caliper. Hyperledger is the Linux Foundation’s blockchain operation.
In other SK Telecom news, earlier this month the company announced that it is working with AT&T, Intel, and the OpenStack Foundation on an infrastructure project for container-based clouds named Airship. This project, AT&T said, will serve as the foundation AT&T’s network cloud that will run its 5G core.
SK Telecom is also considered to be at the forefront of 5G development, recently saying that it plans to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) in its own 5G network.