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S Korea’s NH Bank releases blockchain employee ID system

digital identity

Yesterday, South Korea’s Nonghyup Bank (NH Bank) introduced its ‘Mobile Employee ID’ underpinned by blockchain technology, reported JoongAng Ilbo. The report said this was the first commercial application of the distributed identity technology developed by the ‘Initial DID Association’.

The Association is a decentralized identity consortium hosted by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA). LG, SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics founded the consortium and were later joined by several other telcos and commercial banks, including NH Bank. 

The consortium aims to introduce self-sovereign identity allowing users to control their own data, including personal information and qualifications. 

Ledger Insights previously reported on the launch of the Association’s blockchain platform, which studied the potential for employees to use mobile phones instead of identity cards. It developed a mobile app where users can upload their certificates and other details. Participating organizations have been assigned QR codes that a user can scan to issue and submit documents. 

According to the recent report, the ‘Mobile Employee ID’ was jointly implemented by NH Bank and SK Telecom, backed by the technology developed by the Association. Using the mobile application, in the initial roll out 20 NH employees have applied for and received a virtual ID card through their mobile phones. They can use the app to access the offices. The company plans to expand the mobile ID functionality to set appointments and include simple payment functions, such as buying food at the cafeteria.

Other prominent members of the consortium include Hyundai Card, BC Card, Shinhan Bank, LG Uplus, KT, Samsung Electronics, KEB Hana Bank, Woori Bank, CJ Olive Networks and Koscom. 

This is not the only effort for using decentralized identifiers in South Korea. Non-profit Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute (KTFC) has launched blockchain digital IDs for financial services. The IDs are designed to be interoperable between service providers, and about 30 firms have signed up to use the service. 

ICONLOOP is another Korean initiative which launched its DID service ‘my-ID’. Last year, it raised about $8 million in Series A funding. 

Among other such initiatives, the Sovrin Network and uPort are major providers of self-sovereign identity solutions.