LG’s Mobile Arm to Trial Blockchain Payments for Overseas Travelers

LG Uplus – a South Korean cellular carrier owned by the nation’s fourth largest conglomerate, LG Corporation – is launching a blockchain-based overseas payment service.

Announced Sunday, the trial effort will see the company working with partners in Japan, Taiwan and the U.S. to offer users of three mobile carriers cheaper and faster payments when travelling internationally.

Expected to launch early in 2019, the system is based on a blockchain cross-carrier payment platform provided by project partner, U.S.-based TBCASoft, according to The Korea Times.

LG Uplus has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) Thursday with two other carriers – Taiwan-based Far EasTone Telecommunications and Japan-based SoftBank – to work together on the trial.

The service will enable LG Uplus subscribers to make purchases at select retailers using their cellphones when they travel to Taiwan and Japan. Similarly, users of Far EasTone and SoftBank will be able to shop via phone-based payments when travelling in Korea and Japan.

“Customers will have the benefit of an overseas payment system based on convenient, economical and secure blockchain technology,” Joo Young-joon, director of the mobile services at LG Uplus was quoted as saying.

Aimed to help users avoid costly international card transactions and speed up the payments process, the service bills for transactions through the carriers to be paid in users’ home countries and in their national fiat currency via their mobile bills.

TBCASoft said it also reduces the risk associated with fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, according to The Times.

Interestingly, the news comes less than a week after Softbank announced that it had completed a blockchain proof-of-concept for peer-to-peer mobile payments across different carriers, as reported by CoinDesk.

Softbank said at the time that the technology was also developed in partnership with TBCASoft, as well as Synchronoss, a Nasdaq-listed firm that delivered a SMS-replacement communications protocol called Rich Communication Service (RCS) in Japan.

Far EasTone, SoftBank and TBCASoft are founding members of a blockchain consortium of mobile carriers called the Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG) aimed at joint development of a blockchain services specifically for their industry.

Shopping with mobile image via Shutterstock

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