The Korea Herald


KT unveils world’s first blockchain-powered commercial network

Telecom giant plans to apply blockchain to 5G, finance, energy platforms, and build blockchain-based infrastructure nationwide

By Song Su-hyun

Published : July 24, 2018 - 17:05

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South Korea’s leading mobile carrier KT unveiled what it called the world’s first blockchain-based commercial network on Tuesday, and announced its aim to create the most trusted network for individual users and businesses.

In telecommunications, blockchain technology can be used for efficient and secure data distribution and transactions, said Seo Young-il, head of the KT Blockchain Center at KT’s Institute of Convergence Technology, who has been working for more than three years to develop such a network.

KT has overlaid blockchain nodes to the layer of its high-speed commercial network established nationwide in order to make the existing network more secure and transparent. 

Kim Hyung-wook, head of platform business at KT, speaks during a press conference Tuesday. (KT) Kim Hyung-wook, head of platform business at KT, speaks during a press conference Tuesday. (KT)

Countless blocks that contain individuals or businesses’ digital data will be connected as a chain, which will be securely stored and transparently transacted on the network with less hacking risks, according to the company.

The performance of the new blockchain network can be assessed with the number of transactions the network can handle in second.

The current KT blockchain network is capable of handling 2,500 transactions per second and it aims to reach 100,000 TPS by the end of 2019, KT said.

“The whole point of applying blockchain to networks is to address security and transaction issues by making the current networks more secure and trusted,” Seo said.

It has also presented a new technology that allows users to log into the blockchain-powered network without having a personal ID and password.

Instead of using the IP address, each block can serve as a unique ID that does not require additional identity verification, preventing risks of ID and password thefts, KT said.

Utilization of blockchain could be expanded to data roaming services by mobile carriers, KT announced.

The company is preparing to launch a blockchain-applied data roaming service with global mobile carriers, including Japan’s NTT Docomo. When blockchain comes to roaming services, roaming bills will be calculated on a real-time basis, and users will not experience their mobile internet connections slowing down anymore, owing to the high-speed transactions of the data blocks.

The Korean blockchain market is forecast to expand from 50 billion won ($44 million) this year to 1 trillion won in 2022, according to data from the Ministry of Science and ICT.

A model introduces KT's blockchain-based regional currency service.(KT) A model introduces KT's blockchain-based regional currency service.(KT)

“Like the internet has become today’s mainstream network technology, blockchain will be a new fundamental technology network,” said Kim Hyung-wook, head of platform business planning at KT. “KT will contribute to enlarging the country’s blockchain market by taking the lead in building blockchain infrastructure,”

By Song Su-hyun (