Seoul has launched the first phase of a metaverse that will allow its citizens to visit attractions virtually and interact with official services.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has launched a new initiative called Metaverse Seoul, which allows residents of the South Korean capital to access city services in a virtual environment.
In what is being called the first city-backed metaverse project in the world, the first phase of the project, which reportedly cost 2 billion won or $1.6 million to develop, will focus on allowing citizens to explore the platform with avatars, and an app will issue proof of citizenship and offer support to struggling businesses among other services.
The second stage, forecast for 2024, will offer real estate counselling and will supply a hub for foreign investors looking to invest in local businesses.
The final stage, due in 2026, will be the completion of a public metaverse that will combine virtual and augmented reality to offer an experience that will enable citizens to interact with the city’s infrastructure.
According to an article on CoinTelegraph, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon announced the launch during a press briefing, stating that the online environment will be a "place of communication for citizens" of the capital city.
South Korea has always been at the forefront of innovation in the metaverse and blockchain space. With one of the fastest internet connectivity speeds in the world, it has been a leader in the development of virtual environments.
Before the FTX debacle, the city had been looking at collaborating with Sam Bankman-Fried’s company in order to build a city crypto exchange. However, the plans were dropped after FTX collapsed in early November of last year.
Despite this collapse, and the more than year-long crypto bear market, South Korea has continued to be resilient to the downturn, and is backing crypto-based technology such as the metaverse in order to be one of the world’s frontrunners in this futuristic world.
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