Blockchain ID ‘War’ in the Offing as S Korean Giants Prepare Rollouts
South Koreans are likely to completely do away with plastic ID, social security and driver’s license cards in favor of blockchain technology-powered digital alternatives, per a new report – with some of the biggest companies in the land vying for a stake in the market.
Per Fn News, SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, the nation’s three biggest mobile carriers, have agreed a deal that will see them make use of the PASS driver’s license mobile ID platform, the brainchild of the National Police Agency and the Road Traffic Authority.
The police force states that 1.4 million South Koreans have now begun to use the PASS platform, which allows users to prove their identity using the police’s blockchain network and scannable QR codes or barcodes.
The CU and GS25 convenience store chains have already begun accepting the PASS app as a proof of age in outlets nationwide. And last week, internet giant Naver and chat app operator Kakao also joined the platform, after being granted “temporary permission” under regulatory sandbox rules.
However, the PASS app is merely the tip of the iceberg of what the media outlet dubbed a forthcoming “blockchain-based mobile ID war” – to be waged by the nation’s biggest tech firms.
The media outlet said that practical usages are still few and far between, but added that South Korean companies appear certain that the uptake for blockchain-powered proof of identity and blockchain-verified digital document storage will be quick in the months ahead.
Both Naver and Kakao – as well as the mobile manufacturer Samsung – were granted permission to work on their own blockchain-powered ID offerings earlier this year. And all three have begun to partner up with private sector firms, government-run bodies and universities in a bid to corner the market.
All three companies said they will roll their own solutions out this year, with Samsung working on a rival driver’s license platform, Kakao looking at university qualifications solutions and Naver focusing on retail and finance-related business models.
A number of commercial banks are also actively pursuing blockchain-powered ID business avenues.
The result of the “war,” noted FN News “will be determined by who finds more practical applications” for their solutions.