Busan City to demonstrate blockchain-based decentralized identification service for first time

By Park Sae-jin Posted : June 9, 2020, 10:07 Updated : June 9, 2020, 10:07

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- For the first time as a public organization in a country well-known for fast telecom services and the quick adoption of new IT mobile devices, Busan, the second-largest city of South Korea, will demonstrate a decentralized identification service that allows users to manage personal information without an identity document such as identification cards.

South Korea opened the door for decentralized identifier (DID) services in September last year when the Ministry of Science and ICT lifted regulations through a regulatory sandbox. A regulatory sandbox exempts regulations on new products or services for a certain period of time so that companies can develop and demonstrate new technologies.

Blockchain-based DIDs are a self-sovereign digital identifier that is verifiable through a blockchain network. Blockchain requires no central server and users carry virtual ledgers of encrypted data. It is considered to be unhackable because everyone carries a ledger that is synchronized every time a change is made.

Busan said in a statement that it would launch a hands-on service for mobile identification through a dedicated Android smartphone app that will require no personal information for registration and login processes as it will use DID for verification.

The app will send and receive DID information to and from identity verification services and provide necessary data to other public and administrative organizations. Users can be issued with the digital version of identification cards that are required to enter public facilities such as the Busan City Hall or get a digital version of family welfare subsidy cards through a non-face-to-face method.

"Public services using blockchain technology such as DIDs will be quickly established in line with the implementation of a revised electronic signature law that includes the abolition of public certificates and changes in the non-face-to-face digital industry environment in the COVID-19 era," a Busan official was quoted as saying.

Busan said it would add payment features to issue digital vouchers for the city hall's cafeteria and stores.

LG CNS, an information technology unit of South Korea's LG group, has launched Monachain, a blockchain platform service for corporate businesses, that is capable of digitally authenticate, track supplies and help the management of supply chains.

Mobile carriers have agreed with police to develop and commercialize the mobile driver's license verification service based on digital barcodes provided by a joint authentication app, using blockchain to prevent forgery of encrypted data. Personal information will be stored only in safety areas inside smartphones, with distributed principals adopted to operate only the minimum encrypted data.

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