Seoul, the capital of South Korea, took the initiative by introducing the first phase of “Metaverse Seoul” on January 16. It is an online metaverse platform where the government offers services to the public, such as administrative, economic, tax and education matters. The authority claims that it is the world’s first publicly backed metaverse platform backed by a city government.
At a press conference on Monday, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-Hoon announcement the official release of this project. The first phase of Seoul after its successful beta test. The city’s mayor said that the Internet will serve as a “place of communication for citizens”, where people can consult official documents, file specific complaints and obtain information on the payment of municipal taxes.
The second phase will start in 2024 and will include a more comprehensive range of services, such as real estate advice and the introduction of foreign investors in national companies.
Seoul officials plan to complete the public metaverse by 2026, saying the third stage will be able to use a combination of virtual reality technology tools to more accurately manage the city’s physical assets.
Seoul authorities take an interest in the metaverse
The South Korean government has shown keen interest in maximizing the benefits of the metaverse, or virtual reality environments. This project is part of the so-called Web3 movement, a new stage for the Internet supported without the intervention of centralized entities and towards decentralized platforms built around blockchains.
South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT has announced proposals to spend a 223.7 billion Korean WON – $180 million fund to invest in the country’s metaverse sectors in February 2022.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol has made developing 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 the metaverse as the junction of the digital and physical worlds, where users can interact to provide economic, social and cultural benefits.
The government’s digital policy division describes Metaverse Seoul as a place where reality meets online and creativity meets communication. Recently, a Korean neuroscientist by the name of Jang Dong-Seon told the city government’s Podcast channel that the cyber platform has turned the city into a “first mover” in the global utility industry.
The platform also aims to prevent illegal acts such as sex crimes involving user avatars, verbal harassment, and information leakage. For this reason, the Seoul Digital Foundation’s “Code of Ethics for the Metaverse” was chosen as the platform’s guiding code of conduct. Avatars are not allowed to touch each other, vulgarity is automatically eliminated, and users can report any issues they encounter.
Additionally, many companies around the world have announced plans to build virtual offices once Facebook rebrands to Meta in October 2021. However, several major systems including FTX, Voyager Digital, and Celsius Network went silent in 2022, which may have slowed adoption.
As of this writing, Bitcoin is trading around $21,300, which is 23% higher than last week.
Featured image from Washingtonpost, featured chart from Tradingview.com.