South Korea, one of the most active crypto countries in the world, is taking its use of blockchain technology one step further. Blockchain-based digital IDs are likely to replace physical identity cards in the country, according to a Bloomberg report.
The government, Bloomberg reports, wants to embed digital IDs as an app on smartphones. These apps will work like physical resident registration cards. The blockchain-based digital IDs are expected to be launched by 2024, with around 45 million citizens being onboarded within the following two years.
The blockchain-based digital ID programme will not be the first of its kind for the nation. In August 2020, over a million South Koreans applied for blockchain-powered driving licenses. These operate via Korea’s PASS smartphone application.
Such IDs comes with many advantages. Foregrounding some of them, Hwang Seogwon, an economist with Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, said that digital IDs could help improve financial inclusion, healthcare, taxes, and transportation.
Also highlighting the significance of such cards, Director General of Korea’s Digital Government Bureau Suh Bo Ram said that the new digital IDs will equip businesses to switch to the online mode of operating. Doing so will enable them to take full advantage of the latest technology. He clarified that while adopting a decentralized identity system, the government will not have access to the information stored on smartphones, including digital IDs.
Further, the blockchain-powered digital ID programme has the potential to ramp up country’s GDP up to 13% and will result in enormous savings in expenses by companies. Some notable benefits include reduction in payroll frauds, increase in consumer credit, improved trade, and the emergence of new markets.
South Korea has one of the world’s most tech-savvy populations and ranks first among all nations in applying technology to life, business, and government. The country’s digital adoption has, however, leapfrogged in the last two years, since the pandemic.