BLOCKCHAIN

Blockchain Startup Blocko Raises $7.4 Million From S. Korean Banks

South Korean blockchain startup Blocko has raised $7.44 million from Korea’s oldest bank, Shinhan, as well as KEB Hana Bank, LB Investment, and Dadam Investment in a Series B+ round.

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Blockchain Startup Blocko Raises $8.9M USD In Series B ...Blocko has raised over $20 million to build enterprise level blockchain services for many of Korea’s institutions, including the nation’s stock exchange, the Bank of Korea, Hyundai and the Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute.

The company launched its own blockchain platform, Aergo, to address the “growing need for data sharing between industries and companies in areas such as identity verification, document management, and the Internet of Things.”

Blocko CEO Won-beom Kim stated the company hopes to “showcase various blockchain-based solutions that can be used in areas that have been difficult to implement, such as smart grids and dark data.”

Many companies around the world are already taking advantage from Aergo in sectors such as manufacturing, banking, mobile, payments, logistics, and distribution. Even local governments are using this new technology.

According to Blocko, Aergo leverages your existing IT or cloud infrastructure for better ROI and ROCE.

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BLOCKCHAIN

South Korea Utilizing Blockchain Technology for Shipping Efficiency Boost

South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries have begun using blockchain technology for the nations container shipping industry, hoping to bring more efficiency to marine logistics.

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The new initiative will take place at the major southern port of Busan and will allow real-time sharing of information, improving business operations overall.

“We will establish a roadmap for developing blockchain technology and plan to secure 90 percent of the technology level by 2022 compared to the world’s top countries,” the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said.

South Korea plans to expand the utilization of blockchain technology to other ports if the initial rollout in Busan is successful.

In June, the South Korean government dedicated $9 million to fund six different blockchain projects, including the most recent marine logistic undertaking.

The other utilizations of blockchain include online voting, cross-border e-document distribution, real estate transactions, customs clearances, and livestock supply chain management.

In November, the Korean Bar Association requested the hastening of blockchain regulations to help develop the technology, as well as protect investors.

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블록체인으로 항만물류 혁신 이끈다

블록체인이 항만물류 혁신을 이끈다.

– 과기정통부·해수부, 블록체인 기반 ‘컨테이너 반출입증 통합발급 서비스’ 구축 –

* (사례1) 선사(船社) A는 이번에 반입된 컨테이너를 다른 배에 옮겨 싣기 위해 이메일을 이용하여 컨테이너 정보를 운송사 B에 보냈다. 하지만 컨테이너 정보가 너무 많아 혹시라도 누락되는 컨테이너가 발생할까 불안하다.

* (사례2) 운송기사 C는 터미널 ㉠에서 터미널 ㉡으로 컨테이너를 옮길 것을 지시받았다. 하지만 컨테이너 위치가 어딘지 알 수가 없어 터미널 ㉠ 게이트에서 종이로 된 위치문서(인수도증)를 전달받았다. 이 과정에서 대기시간이 길어져 터미널 게이트 부근에 정체가 발생하였다.

* (사례3) 운송사 D는 소속 트럭이 컨테이너를 옮긴 뒤 빈 차로 돌아오는 일이 잦다. 컨테이너를 터미널 ㉠에서 터미널 ㉡으로 옮긴 뒤 또 다른 컨테이너를 터미널 ㉡에서 싣고 다른 터미널로 옮길 수 있다면 운송 원가를 절감할 수 있을 것 같다.

□ 앞으로 부두 간 컨테이너 이동에도 블록체인 기술이 적용되어 데이터 오류․누락 없이 편리하고 신속한 물류 운송이 이뤄질 전망이다.

□ 과학기술정보통신부(장관 유영민)와 해양수산부(장관 김영춘)는 4차 산업혁명의 핵심 기술인 블록체인 기술을 항만물류에 활용하기 위해 ‘블록체인 기반 컨테이너 부두 간 반출입증 통합 발급 서비스’를 구축했다고 밝혔다.

ㅇ 본 사업은 지난 6월에 발표한「블록체인 기술 발전전략」의 핵심 추진과제인 ‘6대 공공시범사업’ 중 하나로서 과학기술정보통신부와 해양수산부가 협업하여 올 초부터 진행해 왔다.

□ 부산항은 환적 규모가 전 세계 2위(1위 싱가포르)에 해당하고, 환적 화물을 다른 부두로 옮겨 출항하는 타 부두 환적*(ITT, Internal Terminal Transportation)은 전체 환적 물동량의 16%에 달해 항만물류주체(선사, 운송사, 터미널 운영사) 간의 원활한 정보공유가 중요하다.

* 선박의 화물을 부두에 내린 후 다른 선박에 옮겨 싣고 출항하는 일련의 과정

ㅇ 현행 타 부두 환적은 선사가 대상 컨테이너 목록을 작성해서 운송사에 제공하면, 운송사는 배차계획을 세워 터미널 운영사와 운송 기사에게 통보하는 과정으로 이루어진다.

ㅇ 이 과정에서 무선, 이메일, 팩스 등의 통신수단을 이용하여 정보를 전달하면서, 데이터 누락, 통신 오류로 인한 수정작업이 잦아 업무수행이 비효율적이었다.

ㅇ 또한 터미널 내 컨테이너 상․하차 위치를 알려주는 컨테이너 반출입증을 종이문서로 운전기사에게 발급하는 과정에서, 터미널 게이트에 정차된 운송 차량으로 인해 대기시간이 길어지는 사례가 발생하였다.

□ 이번에 구축한 ‘블록체인 기반 컨테이너 부두 간 반출입증 통합발급 서비스’는 타 부두 환적 시 필요한 정보*를 블록체인에 저장․공유함으로써, 현행 컨테이너 환적 업무의 불편함을 개선하고 효율성을 향상시킬 것으로 기대된다.

* 컨테이너 목록(선사), 컨테이너를 이동할 배차계획(운송사), 컨테이너 위치정보(터미널) 등

ㅇ 우선, 선사 ․ 운송사 ․ 터미널 간 단절되어 있는 운송정보를 블록체인으로 투명하게 공유함으로써 물류주체 간 정보 불일치로 발생하는 불필요한 작업시간이 단축된다.

* 물량 확인시간 : 1~2일→실시간, 운송과정 확인시간 : 1시간→실시간

ㅇ 또한 어플리케이션을 통한 전자 반출입증을 발급하여 운송기사들이 실시간으로 배차 사실을 인지하고, 반출입 컨테이너 위치를 파악할 수 있어 운송 업무의 편의성이 높아지게 된다.

□ 이번 시범 서비스는 ‘18년 12월부터 1년 동안 부산 신항에서 일부 항만 물류업체*를 대상으로 실제로 운영될 예정이다.

* 부산신항국제터미널, 현대신항만, 부산신항만주식회사(컨테이너 터미널), 현대상선(선사), 롯데글로벌로지스(운송사)

ㅇ 향후 해수부는 이 시범사업 성과를 면밀히 분석하여 참여기관을 확대하고 다른 항만에도 적용 ․ 확산하는 것을 검토할 예정이다.

□ 과기정통부는 “블록체인 기술이 항만물류처럼 다양한 당사자들이 참여하고 데이터 공유가 중요한 분야에서 활용되어 업무 프로세스 개선과 서비스 혁신을 이끌어 낼 수 있을 것으로 기대한다” 라고 하며,

“내년에도 블록체인 기술이 국민생활과 밀접한 영역에서 활용되어 혁신사례를 창출할 수 있도록 지원해 나가겠다” 라고 밝혔다.

□ 해양수산부는 “4차 산업혁명의 영향으로 항만물류에서도 데이터 실시간 공유의 중요성이 점점 대두될 것”이라며, “이번 시범사업을 계기로 블록체인을 통해 우리나라 항만경쟁력을 향상시킬 수 있는 다양한 방안을 모색해 나가도록 하겠다.”라고 전했다.

ALTCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN, RIPPLE

Coinone Offers South Korea’s First Ripple Blockchain Remittance Service

Utilizing the Ripple (XRP) blockchain, Coinone Transfer, a payments business and a subsidiary of Coinone, introduced South Korea’s first blockchain-powered remittance mobile app and web service called Cross — offering faster, lower cost payments to Thailand and the Philippines.

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Unlike other remittance options in South Korea, Cross does not rely on traditional banking rails. Rather, it provides a safe alternative for those with or without a bank account, and the increased payment transparency and reliability inherent to XRP’s advanced blockchain technology.

With plans to aggressively expand across the region over the coming months, Coinone Transfer quickly rolled out the service through new financial institutions using RippleNet — connections formed with Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) in Thailand and Cebuana Lhuillier in the Philippines.

Coinone Transfer’s partnership with SCB also will soon offer Cross customers a direct link to PromptPay, which enables any recipient with a bank account in Thailand to receive a payment directly and instantly.

Growing Demand in the South Korean Market

With an estimated two million immigrant workers living in South Korea — more than 3.4% of the overall population — the need for improved remittance services like Cross has never been greater.

According to a 2017 government report, Thai immigrant workers number more than 153,000 and are the third-largest immigrant population in the country. The Filipino immigrant population is not far behind with approximately 58,000 people working in South Korea today.

Not surprisingly, the rate of remittances into and out of the country is skyrocketing — with the World Bank estimating approximately $17 billion in remittance last year alone.

Addressing Real Customer Pain Points

In the past, remittance options in South Korea were limited. For those sending smaller sums of money overseas, the cost of sending a payment was often too high to justify. Tracing payment history was extremely complex — customers didn’t know the exact date or time for the delivery of the funds nor were they able to cancel a payment request once it was in progress.

In July 2017, the South Korean government began offering Global Remittance Licenses to non-bank businesses operating remittance services in the country. This combined with the introduction of the new Cross service finally provides these customers with a better way to send money abroad — options that are less costly, faster and more reliable than traditional options.

One of the primary benefits of RippleNet is that it enables banks and payment providers to join together and provide a better experience for all their end users.

Helping Solve A Global Problem

Friction in global payments is felt universally — from people who want to send money to loved ones but face high costs and slow times, to growing businesses that need to send payments internationally in order scale.

This is particularly true in countries across the Association of South Eastern Asian Nations (ASEAN) region that lack a reliable and comprehensive network of correspondent banks, and therefore, face extreme inefficiencies and costs for cross-border payments.

In the past year, RippleNet has helped enable a multitude of new services aimed at addressing this problem, including a new “multi-hop” feature on RippleNet pioneered by SCB, access to Latam and Europe for InstaReM’s remittance customers across the region and The Japan Bank Consortium’s MoneyTap mobile app.

While the market opportunity for these industry innovators is huge, the value of services and technology they’re deploying is is even greater — it has the potential to change lives for millions of people working and living abroad in ASEAN.

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BITCOIN, BLOCKCHAIN

Bitcoin Above $14K After South Korean Ban Fears Cool

The price of Bitcoin has increased above $14,000, dipping yesterday after fears South Korea, one of the largest markets for cryptocurrencies, may ban trading the technology.

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“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” Justice Minister Park Sang-ki told a news conference.

For South Korean legislators, a complete ban on cryptocurrency will necessitate a majority vote of 297 members of the National Assembly, a procedure that may perhaps take months or even years.

According the Blockchain Industry Association, there are more than a dozen cryptocurrency exchanges headquartered in South Korea.

Cryptocurrency exhanges Coinone and Bithumb, two of the largest exchanges, were raided by police this week for alleged tax evasion.

“We were asked by the tax officials to disclose paperwork,” an employee at Bithumb stated, wishing to remain anonymous.

Previously, South Korean financial officials stated they are examining six banks that offer cryptocurrency accounts to organizations, amidst fears that growing use of the technology may perhaps lead to an increase in misconduct.

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