|Lee Dong-myeon, president of future platform business group at KT, speaks during a press conference at the firm's headquarters in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, Tuesday. / Courtesy of KT|
By Baek Byung-yeul
KT launched its fifth-generation (5G) network-based blockchain technology brand "GiGA Chain" and related blockchain-based services that can enhance security and help prevent cyberattacks on connected devices, the mobile carrier said Tuesday.
While the number of internet of things (IoT) devices are expected to grow to 30 billion by 2021 thanks to the enhanced connectivity of 5G, KT said blockchain technologies are essential to ensure the safety of the connected devices.
To offer high level security technologies in the 5G era, it developed a GiGA Stealth technology that literally makes IP addresses of the connected devices "invisible" to hackers.
"In the 5G era, a large number of IoT devices are expected to be used and many of them are likely to be more vulnerable to cyberattacks. So we decided to come up with high assurance cybersecurity measures using our blockchain technology," Lee Dong-myeon, president of future platform business group at KT, said during a press conference at the firm's headquarters in central Seoul.
Given 99 percent of hacking attacks on the IoT devices are conducted by anonymous hackers, KT said its GiGA Stealth technology will be effective to prevent those hacking attempts.
"The IoT devices have IP addresses, so hackers can easily find the addresses of these devices on search engines such as Shodan. The GiGA Stealth technology makes the devices virtually invisible by masking their IP addresses," said Seo Young-il, senior vice president and head of blockchain biz center at KT.
KT also introduced the GiGA Chain BaaS (Blockchain as a Service) platform that enables organizations to use blockchain-based applications.
"Many companies want to use the BaaS service to improve their security measures but there have been many hurdles in developing their own systems because the country has less than 200 engineers that are capable of developing this technology. Also developing this kind of service requires a huge amount of time and money," Seo said. "To make more companies use this service, we recently completed the development of the GiGA Chain BaaS platform and launched it in March."
|Models show off the mobile app for KT's blockchain-based local voucher payment platform at the firm's headquarters in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, Tuesday. / Yonhap|
Using KT's BaaS platform, companies can easily handle key features of blockchain technologies such as smart contracts which allow companies to exchange money, property or anything of value in a transparent way without requiring the services of a middleman.
The company added its blockchain technology can be used for the digitization of vouchers that local governments have issued to their residents.
Gimpo City in Gyeonggi Province has already been using the firm's blockchain-based payment system starting April. Residents who receive local vouchers from the city can make payments using the system.
"Gimpo is scheduled to issue a total 11 billion won ($9.7 million) worth of local vouchers for its residents in 2019. Korea is expected to issue overall local vouchers worth 2 trillion won ($1.76 billion) in 2019, and we expect more regional governments to adopt KT's blockchain-based payment system that is convenient and safe," Seo said.
KT said its blockchain-based payment system can benefit both users and merchants.
"Users are just required to download the mobile app and present a QR code to sellers. Business owners had to visit local banks to exchange vouchers for real money but they can avoid those hassles by using KT's blockchain-based payment system," he said.