Seoul, the capital of South Korea, initiated the first phase of “Metaverse Seoul” on January 16. It is an online metaverse platform where the government provides services to the public, such as administrative, economic affairs, taxation and education. Authority claims to be the world’s first publicly supported Metaverse platform with support from the city government.
At a press conference on Monday, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon announce The official version of this project. Seoul’s first stage after its successful test run. The city’s mayor has stated that the Internet will serve as a “contact place for citizens,” where people can view official documents, file specific complaints, and obtain information about paying city taxes.
The second phase will start in 2024 and include a more comprehensive set of services, such as real estate advisory and introducing foreign investors to local companies.
Seoul officials expect to complete the public Metaverse by 2026, claiming that the third phase will be able to use an array of virtual reality technology tools to more accurately manage the city’s physical assets.
Seoul authorities are showing interest in the Metaverse
The South Korean government has shown great interest in doubling down on the benefits of Metaverse, or virtual reality environments. This project is part of the so-called Web3 movement, a new step for a powered Internet without the involvement of central entities and towards decentralized platforms built around blockchains.
The Ministry of Science and ICT of South Korea announced proposals for spend KRW 223.7 billion – $180 million to invest in sub-sectors in the country in February 2022.
The President of South Korea, Yoon Sok Yol, considered the development of this technology a top priority. As a result, major South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom, and Naver Corp have all expanded into the metaverse.
South Korea’s Ministry of Science defines a metaverse as the confluence of the digital and physical worlds, where users can interact to provide economic, social, and cultural benefits.
The government’s digital policy department envisions the Metaverse Seoul as a place where reality meets online, and creativity meets communication. Recently, a Korean neuroscientist named Jang Dong-seon stated on the municipal government’s podcast channel that the online platform has turned the city into a “first mover” in the global public service sector.
The platform is also concerned with preventing illegal acts such as sexual crimes involving user avatars, verbal harassment, and information leakage. For this reason, the “Seoul Digital Corporation’s Metaverse Code of Ethics” was chosen as the guiding code of conduct for the platform. Avatars are not allowed to touch each other, vulgarity is automatically blocked, and users can report any issues they encounter.
Besides, many companies around the world have announced their intention to set up virtual offices once Facebook changes its rebranding to Meta in October 2021. However, many prominent systems, including FTX, Voyager Digital, and Celsius Network, are silent in 2022, which could slow adoption.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin was trading at around $21,300, up 23% from last week.
Featured image from Washingtonpost, featured chart from Tradingview.com.