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Seoul, the capital of South Korea, took the initiative by introducing the first phase of “Metaverse Seoul” on 16 January. It is an online metaverse platform where the government offers services to the public, like administrative, economic matters, taxes, and education. The authority claims it as the world’s first publicly supported metaverse platform backed by a city government.

In a press conference on Monday, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-Hoon announced the official release of this project. Seoul’s first phase after its successful beta testing. The city’s mayor has stated that the internet will serve as a “place of communication for citizens,” where people can view official documents, lodge specific complaints, and get information about paying city taxes.

The second phase will begin in 2024 and include a more comprehensive range of services, such as real estate consulting and introducing overseas investors to domestic businesses. 

Seoul’s Officials expect to complete the public metaverse by 2026, claiming that the third stage will be able to use a combination of Virtual reality technology tools to manage the city’s physical assets more accurately.

Seoul Authorities Showing Interest In Metaverse

The government of South Korea has shown a 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 step for the internet supported without the intervention of centralized entities and toward decentralized platforms built around blockchains.

The Ministry of Science and ICT of South Korea announced proposals to spend a 223.7 billion Korean WON – $180 million fund to invest in the country’s metaverse sectors in February 2022.

The president of South Korea, Yoon Suk-Yeol, has considered developing this technology a top priority. As a result, big South Korean companies like Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom, and Naver Corp have all expanded into the metaverse.

The Science ministry of South Korea defines the metaverse as the junction of the digital and physical worlds, where users can interact to provide economic, social, and cultural benefits.

The Digital Policy Division of the government portrays 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 cyber platform had transformed the city into a “first mover” in the global public service sector.

The platform is also concerned with preventing illegal acts like sexual crimes involving user avatars, verbal harassment, and information leakage. For this reason, 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 screened out, and users can report any issues they encounter.

Besides this, numerous businesses worldwide announced their intentions to construct virtual offices once Facebook rebranded to Meta in October 2021. However, several prominent systems, including FTX, Voyager Digital, and Celsius Network, went silent in 2022, which may have slowed adoption.

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