South Korea is planning to introduce blockchain-based digital IDs for its citizens with a smartphone by 2024, according to Bloomberg. These digital IDs will be installed on smartphones and work as efficiently as physical resident registration cards.
The call for digital IDs is not new as its importance was realized as soon as the world embraced a digital economy and more and more people began making cashless payments.
Cautious of being seen as a “Big Brother,” the South Korean government plans to adopt a decentralized identity system. Suh Bo Ram, the Director-General of South Korea’s Digital Government Bureau, said that the government would have no direct access to information stored on phones, including the digital ID and their usage.
“Every service that hasn’t been able to fully transition online will now be able to do so.”
South Korea getting more crypto-friendly
In January 2018, the South Korean government attempted to control cryptocurrency trading by limiting trade to real-name bank accounts exclusively. Simply put, a cryptocurrency trader was needed to have a bank account in order to trade.
Notably, South Korea amended the Act on the Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Transaction Information (the “March 2020 Amendment”) on 5 March 2020. The legislation establishes a legislative framework for cryptocurrencies, as well as associated services and activities, legally legalizing cryptocurrency in South Korea and requiring specific compliance requirements.
The country has previously successfully implemented blockchain-based digital driving licenses. A 2020 report said that one million citizens have foregone their physical driving license in favour of a blockchain-powered digital alternative, used in conjunction with the PASS smartphone app.
Digital IDs to become more popular
A June 2021 report published by ReportLinker mentioned that the blockchain identity market will grow a further $3.58 billion by 2025, at a compounded annual growth rate of 71%.
Koreans currently rely on resident registration cards – similar to a U.S social security card – to identify themselves. Under the proposal, an app would embed those IDs into mobile devices.
South Korea will launch digital IDs in 2024 and seeks their adoption by 45 million citizens within two years.