In a major step towards the future of city services, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has officially launched the first phase of its Metaverse Seoul project.
This virtual environment will allow residents of the South Korean capital to access a wide range of city services, including official documents, filing complaints, and receiving answers to questions about municipal taxes. The online environment will also serve as a “place of communication for citizens,” allowing them to virtually visit many of Seoul’s attractions.
The launch of Metaverse Seoul comes after a successful beta testing period, and is part of a broader effort to make city services more accessible to citizens. “This is a great opportunity for citizens to interact with city officials and access important information in a convenient and easy way,” said Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon in a press briefing.
The government reportedly spent roughly 2 billion won, or $1.6 million, on the first phase of the project. The second phase will focus on making Metaverse Seoul more accessible to senior citizens, who may have trouble commuting to city offices in person. With over 17% of South Korea’s population over the age of 65, according to data from Statistica, this is an important demographic to consider.
South Korea has been at the forefront of metaverse and blockchain adoption, with initiatives like Busan’s plans to build a crypto exchange in collaboration with FTX. However, the global crypto market crash in 2022 and the fall of major platforms like FTX, Voyager Digital, and Celsius Network may have slowed adoption in the metaverse.
Despite this, interest in the metaverse has reportedly surged following Facebook’s re-branding to Meta in October 2021, with many companies announcing plans to open virtual offices.
Overall, the launch of Metaverse Seoul is a significant step towards a more convenient and accessible future for city services. While metaverse adoption may have been slower in 2022, a positive market outlook in 2023 could see a resurgence in interest and usage.