Today, some possibly exciting news for the ICON ecosystem was published by CoinDesk:

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will establish its first blockchain-based administrative services in November, according to a report in the Korean-language blockinpress.
At a conference held last month and attended by city officials and representatives of the private sector, specifics of the roll out were discussed, with timelines and goals established.

Let's back up in time a bit to see how ICON / ICONLOOP is likely involved in this initiative.

The first hints of ICONLOOP being part of the Seoul government were revealed in September of 2018:

The ICON Foundation is proud to announce that ICONLOOP has been selected as an operator of Seoul’s standard blockchain platform for ‘Seoul Blockchain Demonstration Project’(directed by Uracle), which is commissioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

This was no small feat, as Seoul had made it clear they were serious about using blockchain:

Mayor Park Won-soon recently revealed his masterplan to turn Seoul into a blockchain hub which involved a 100 million USD blockchain fund, as well as building the country’s largest blockchain zones to facilitate more than 200 blockchain companies.

Later in October 2018, ICON demonstrated three different projects / applications - ICON Blockchain Identification Card, ICON Blockchain Vote, ICON Blockchain S-Coin Payments. I encourage you to view the entire (short) article to see the specifics of these projects. If you'd like to watch, here is the video showing the demonstration of some of these very services (while it's not in English, you can still view the demonstrations):

"At the Blockchain International Digital Festival, which was hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, ICON showcased to its participants, what a Seoul Resident would experience with a blockchain project in collaboration with the Seoul Government."

Then, in February of this year, it was announced that "Seoul Metropolitan Government appoints members of its ‘Blockchain Governance Team’ Using ICON’s Public Blockchain". In that article, it said:

ICONLOOP has been applying loopchain, ICONLOOP’s proprietary blockchain engine, to the Seoul Blockchain Standard Platform, used car trading system, and mobile-voting system. Additionally, ICONLOOP has provided other individual verification services such as the citizen card, mileage points integration, subcontract payment, and others. ICONLOOP, as the sole operator, has analyzed blockchain-based unit activities and informatization status, and established a multi-phase plan for ISP.

In fact, in that same article, it discussed the first instance of the ICON public chain being used by the Seoul government itself:

"ICONLOOP developed mobile letters of appointment for the Seoul Blockchain Governance Team. The letter can be issued and viewed through a Governance Team member’s personal cell phone. A Governance Team member can issue a letter of appointment with a name, member identification number and membership terms after accepting the terms and conditions. Letter of appointment issuance records are stored on the ICON public blockchain, making falsification and fake issuance impossible. Authenticity of the record can be verified in the ICON Tracker by searching for a specific transaction."

Then, in May, Min Kim of the ICON Foundation tweeted the following, indicating that the Seoul Metropolitan Government has a mandate to use loopchain:

Today, we learned, from the CoinDesk announcement:

The city’s blockchain points system will be introduced and residents of Seoul will receive S-coins for the use of public services. They will be able to redeem those points for rewards. Services that generate the coins include paying taxes and participating in public opinion polls.
Seoul’s point system will integrated with ZeroPay, a city-government sponsored QR-code-enabled network established last December. It allows customers to pay for goods and services using their phones and does not charge merchants commissions.
In addition to the S-coin, a blockchain service for submitting qualifications without paper documents is also on the list for completion by November, as is the enhancing of the Seoul Citizens Card with blockchain to enable digital authentication for the use of public services.

To summarize, we have:

  • A commitment from the Seoul government to take an aggressive approach to implementing blockchain within administrative services.
  • ICONLOOP was selected as operator of Seoul’s standard blockchain platform for ‘Seoul Blockchain Demonstration Project’
  • ICONLOOP demonstrated several projects that could possibly be used by the Seoul government
  • Min Kim comments that there is a mandate for the Seoul government to utilize loopchain, with some of these implementations incorporating ICX
  • Today, the Seoul government announced that they were implementing a number of blockchain services that are either identical, or very similar to, the very applications that ICONLOOP has been building and testing.

Until we have a true official announcement that ICON / ICONLOOP is indeed behind these initiatives, we shouldn't spike the football yet. However, between the news ICON has released already - as well as Min Kim's tweet - it's likely that we just crossed into the metaphorical endzone.