Korea plans Blockchain-Powered Digital IDs for Promoting Digital Economy
South Korea intends to use the world’s most tech-savvy population to stimulate economic development by providing residents with smartphones with a blockchain-secured digital identity. Smartphone-implanted IDs are among the most recent new technologies that support a digital economy that has grown as more individuals work from home, make cashless payments, and explore the metaverse.
Digital IDs facilitate online verification by eliminating the need to photograph certificates or enter authentication numbers through text message. Instead, actions like as filing for state benefits, transferring funds, and even casting a ballot may be completed with a simple pin or fingerprint.
Hwang Seogwon, an economist at Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, said, “Digital IDs may offer enormous economic gains in banking, healthcare, taxation, and transportation, among other sectors, and may take on rapidly among the Korean populace.”
However, additional technical risk evaluation is required to ensure that the risks do not exceed the advantages.
Digital IDs have the potential to enhance a nation’s gross domestic product by up to 13 percent and reduce company expenses by billions of dollars, according to the World Bank and McKinsey & Co. McKinsey’s estimate is based on the widespread use of digital IDs, which saves time on administrative tasks, reduces payroll fraud, expands consumer credit, facilitates commerce, and creates new markets.
“Every service that has not been able to completely shift online will now be able to do so,” said Suh Bo Ram, director general of Korea’s digital-government office and the plan’s leader.
In a decade, the Korean economy may generate at least 60 trillion won (US$42 billion), or 3 percent of GDP, he claimed. The Koreans’ enthusiasm for early adoption may also be beneficial. The Portulans Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, ranks them first in the world in terms of their excitement and ability to integrate technology in daily life, companies, and government.
Currently, Koreans use resident registration cards – comparable to a social security card in the United States – to identify themselves. Under the plan, these IDs would be embedded in mobile devices through an application. Korea will deploy digital IDs in 2024 and aims for 45 million residents to embrace them within two years. This objective may be impeded by the need for each person to go to a municipal office and pay a charge in order to renew their registration card.
Suh recognized the worries but expressed optimism that the obstacles would be outweighed by the rewards. Referring to George Orwell’s 1949 classic Nineteen Eighty-Four, he said that the government is aware of “big brother” worries.
According to the plan, the government will not have access to information stored on individual phones, including information about who uses digital IDs, how they are used, and where, because the system will rely solely on decentralized identity, an advanced application of blockchain technology, he said. Blockchain is a digital ledger of data that’s updated anytime it’s validated by network nodes. It’s often recognized as the engine behind bitcoin. Because there is no central server holding information, hackers would need to compromise each individual device to modify data, and the likelihood of theft is decreased.
“Korea is becoming a silent force demonstrating the future of global technology,” said Heather Vescent, head of the Oregon-based digital ID professionals group IDPro. Other countries have likewise acknowledged the advantages of digital identification.
According to the government’s website, the majority of Estonia’s 1,300,000 eligible voters, bill payers, and document signers have a digital ID that enables them to vote, pay bills, and sign papers using a phone with a particular SIM card. Germany has a similar concept using chips.
According to advocates, further advantages of digital IDs include:
- Facilitating online medical services without in-person visits to physicians
- Simply scanning cellphones over kiosks to get access to hotel rooms.
- preventing identity fraud and forgery
- Remotely approving contracts without the need to sign them
- Enhanced airport expedited boarding methods
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