South Korea to launch a blockchain-powered free trade zone

South Korea is planning on establishing a free trade zone for industrial hemp, and it wants to manage the operations on a blockchain platform. By using blockchain, the country will be able to track the hemp products across the production and supply chains.

South Korea has traditionally had some of the strictest narcotics regulations. However, in 2018, it amended its laws to legalize medical marijuana, becoming the first Asian country to do so. The regulatory shift has made way for the rise of industrial production of cannabis.

This is the industry that the South Korean government will be targeting with its blockchain-powered free trade zone. As per a local news outlet, the zone will be located Andong, a city in the Gyeongbuk province.

In a recent press conference, the Gyeongbuk governor Lee Chul-woo revealed that the South Korean government had granted the city a permit to develop the free trade zone. The zone will implement high-end technology in bio industry and smart farming, he stated, describing Andong as the “Mecca for the Korean hemp industry.”

The development of the free trade zone will commence in January 2021, and is expected to continue for two years.

Blockchain will be used to monitor the safety of the hemp products along the production line, the governor revealed. He, however, didn’t reveal details about the platform, including which blockchain network the government will use.

Andong will become the latest in a growing list of cities in Asia that are using blockchain. Still in South Korea, the city of Busan has availed its services via a blockchain ID app. In launching the app, Busan made it clear that blockchain will play a pivotal role in the digital future of the city. The city, which is the second-largest in South Korea, has also been reported to be working on its own digital currency.

In China, several cities have launched blockchain systems as the country fully embraces the technology. As CoinGeek reported, Nanjing city recently revealed that it had issued $53.7 million in economic stimulus to its citizens. Elsewhere, Yunnan province launched a blockchain system to track its tea products last month. Still in China, Hainan province pledged to invest 1 billion yuan ($140 million) to blockchain and digital currency developments.

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