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LG, SK Telecom, Samsung to launch blockchain digital identity service

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On the 14th July, SK Telecom announced that it is working on a blockchain based identity service with fellow Korean telecoms firms LG U+ and KT along with Samsung, KEB Hana Bank, Woori Bank and IT company Koscom. The firms will build the self-sovereign identity (SSI) app to allow users to manage their personal information.

Slated for release in 2020, the project will first be aimed at South Korea’s major universities. Proof of graduation is often needed, for instance, when applying for a job. If the applicant is using an SSI service, blockchain could allow the employer to verify that the information is authentic.

SSI enables a user to control their own data using decentralized identifiers (DiD). The technical details have not yet been released, and blockchain’s role in SSI can vary significantly depending on the implementation.

In some cases such as Sovrin, the primary detail that’s stored on the blockchain is the public identity of institutions that are certifying credentials. In that case, no personal information is stored whatsoever.

Yesterday’s announcement points out that companies in telecommunications, tech, finance, and manufacturing have rarely come together for a blockchain consortium. Indeed, Hana and Woori are both top 5 banks in South Korea and the three telecoms firms combined make up nearly the entire mobile provider industry in the nation.

SK Telecom, already participating in a digital identity project with Deutsche Telekom, is to “utilize its blockchain platform technology capability and mobile access control pilot experience,” claims the announcement. Meanwhile, LG U+ will create a decentralized loss insurance service, and KT will integrate the SSI project into its current blockchain offerings. KT provides blockchain as a service (BaaS) solution and local currency platforms.

Samsung is using its own phone security layer, Knox to manage the DiDs for mobile use. Knox is already in use in some of Samsung’s smartphones to secure blockchain based keys.