South Korean City Opens Public Services to Blockchain-Based ID App
Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea, has launched an identification app that utilizes a public blockchain to verify citizen information. Coinplug developed the app, a Korean startup operating within the regulatory sandbox of the Busan blockchain regulation-free zone. The developer utilized the Metadium blockchain and its Decentralized Identifier technology to power the app.
By this system, user data is collected on their devices, and only a cryptographic proof of the information is presented to the blockchain. This strikes an equilibrium between personal data privacy and the requirement to build tamper-proof records. Typically, the latter can only be accomplished by centralized servers holding all the data.
The app will let citizens obtain a wide variety of “non-face-to-face” government services due to the COVID-19 pandemic becoming a much higher priority. Recent use cases involve the ability to utilize the Busan Citizen ID and other types of government-issued smart cards. The app also highlights a crypto wallet, which follows Coinplug’s efforts to combine crypto payments in South Korea’s post offices.
Busan’s heavy involvement with Blockchain
The trend of digitalization of government services began well before the popularization of blockchain in some countries, according to a 2018 report. A Coinplug spokesperson said in a statement that Busan’s choice of a decentralized platform is part of the city’s push for technological innovation, where blockchain plays an essential role.
Busan’s regulatory sandbox allowed for the formulation of several initiatives, including blockchain. In December 2019, this appeared in the launch of a local cryptocurrency produced in cooperation with KT, one of Korea’s largest telecom providers. This was one of the initial aims of the regulation-free zone, with the city unveiling such plans as early as July 2019.
Earlier, in February 2019, the city associated with Hyundai Pay to boost fintech development in the city.
The country as a whole is also keeping a positive stance toward blockchain, with South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in writing in July 2019 that the country must be at the vanguard of effective blockchain regulation recognizing personal data as one of its key uses.