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South Korea’s Busan city launches decentralized identity platform for public services

Busan South Korea

South Korea’s Busan city has launched a decentralized identity verification service, reported Yonhap News. The solution was developed by blockchain firm Coinplug, and will provide access to public services using a mobile application. 

Busan is the second-most populous city in South Korea, with 3.4 million residents. It was designated as a regulation-free blockchain zone last year. Citizens need to download the Busan Blockchain ID App available on the Android app store and register themselves to use the digital identity function. 

The platform does not store personal information and instead enables decentralized identifiers (DIDs) controlled by the user to be used for contactless access to facilities. The app will allow Busan citizens to use various public services such as the Busan Citizen Card, City Hall access pass, or the ‘multi-child family love’ card, which provides benefits to households with three or more children. Payment integration is also planned for use in the city hall cafeteria and other stores. 

“DID is a convenient and reliable means of identification and authentication for public services,” a Busan city official said. “Through the Busan Blockchain ID App, we plan to improve and link various public services to maintain a safe approach for our citizens while we continue moving forward into the new normality.”

The platform is expected to alleviate issues faced by citizens due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting social distancing norms. 

South Korea has a thriving digital identity ecosystem, and there are multiple projects currently in the works. Coinplug has its own consortium MYKEEPiN Alliance that includes Celo and numerous blockchain and gaming startups.

Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute (KFTC) has launched a blockchain-based digital ID for financial services. KFTC is involved in another project called the DID Alliance Korea

Another major initiative is the Initial DID Association, which has high-profile members such as SK Telecom, LG U+, KT, and Hyundai Card, among many others. The consortium is backed by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA).

Meanwhile, Korean startup ICONLOOP is exploring blockchain DIDs and has launched the ‘my-ID’ service. 

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