Koreans to have access to blockchain-powered digital IDs by 2024

Under the plan, the blockchain-powered ID would be fully decentralized, meaning the government won’t be able to see how or when the ID is being used.

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Koreans to have access to blockchain-powered digital IDs by 2024

South Koreans could soon allow its citizens to use blockchain-based digital identification (ID) instead of physical cards as soon as 2024, as the nation further embraces blockchain technology.

According to an Oct. 17 report from Bloomberg, a plan from the government will see digital IDs embedded as an app within mobile devices in the future, working in a similar fashion to physical resident registration cards.

The digital IDs are expected to launch in 2024, with around 45 million citizens expected to adopt the technology within two years.

An economist at Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute Hwang Seogwon said the digital IDs could be used in finance, healthcare, taxes and transportation, while the director-general of Korea’s Digital Government Bureau Suh Bo Ram said the technology could help businesses that haven’t yet transitioned fully online.

The plan would also see the government adopt a decentralized identity system, meaning the government will not have access to information stored on phones, including the digital ID being used, how they’re used and where, according to Suh.

Such technology isn’t new to the tech-savvy nation, which ranks first among all nations in applying technology to life, business and government, according to the Portulans Institute, an American think-tank.

It also wouldn’t be the first blockchain-based digital ID solution put into effect in the country either.

In Aug. 2020, over one million South Koreans had implemented a blockchain-powered driver’s licence, which operates via Korea’s PASS smartphone application.

Shortly after, in September 2020, a South Korean government agency — Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) — began pilot testing on a similar system.

Related: Are decentralized digital identities the future or just a niche use case?

While South Korea is seen leading the way in all things blockchain and Metaverse, other nations are expected to soon follow.

A Jun. 2021 study from market research firm ReportLinker estimates that the blockchain identity market will grow a further $3.58 billion by 2025 — a compounded annual growth rate of 71%.

However, Brenda Gentry, blockchain adviser and CEO of Bundlesbets.com, recently told Cointelegraph that no matter how capable and decentralized the ID management system is, it’ll still require recognition from government authorities or corporations:

“If the issuing authorities don’t recognize the validity of the blockchain IDs, then the same cannot be used for availing a majority of public services. This in my opinion is the biggest limitation.”