LG testing blockchain-based payments for international travelers
Tech conglomerate LG Corporation hopes to make life good for international travelers. The company, through its LG Uplus arm, is set to test a blockchain-based payment services solution that will be available to travelers visiting other countries. If the trials go well, the platform could be launched sometime during the first quarter of 2019.
The Korea Times indicates that the service is being created in a partnership with companies in the U.S., Taiwan and Japan. It will give the users of three mobile carriers the ability to make faster and cheaper payments for a range of products while abroad.
The project is based on a cross-carrier payment platform built on the blockchain that is offered by U.S.-based TBCASoft. Also involved are Far EasTone Telecommunications out of Taiwan and Japan’s SoftBank.
LG Uplus subscribers will be able to make purchases at select merchants using only their cell phones while traveling in Japan and Taiwan. Customers of both SoftBank and EasTone will also be able to shop when traveling to Taiwan and Japan, and make payments using the phone-based system.
The platform is more secure than paying with a credit card, and doesn’t incur the exorbitant international fees associated with using a card overseas. Says Joo Young-joon, LG Uplus Director of Mobile Services, “Customers will have the benefit of an overseas payment system based on convenient, economical and secure blockchain technology.”
Payment processes will also be enhanced via the platform. Transactions will be billed through the carrier and can be paid for in the customer’s home country—and in the customer’s home currency—directly through his or her mobile phone bill. This will also help reduce the risk that comes with foreign currency fluctuations.
Softbank recently got involved in another payments platform. Last week, it announced that it had successfully completed a proof-of-concept that uses the blockchain for a peer-to-peer payments service across multiple carriers. That pilot was conducted with NASDAQ-listed Synchronoss, which developed Rich Communication Service (RCS) as a replacement for SMS (simple message service) text messages.
TBCASoft, SoftBank and Far EasTone already enjoyed a common bond prior to the launch of the LG project. The three entities are all founding members of the Carrier Blockchain Study Group, a blockchain consortium of mobile carriers that works to develop blockchain services specifically for the mobile industry.
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