South Korea’s NH Bank Debuts Samsung-Backed Blockchain ID System

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A major blockchain identification project backed by South Korean tech giant Samsung is being rolled out for first commercial use.

South Korea’s NongHyup (NH) Bank has introduced a blockchain-based mobile ID system developed within a tech consortium established by major local firms including Samsung Electronics and LG Uplus.

According to a Feb. 25 report by South Korea’s news agency JoongAng Ilbo, NH Bank is jointly implementing the new ID system with South Korea’s largest wireless carrier, SK Telecom.

NH Bank held a blockchain ID card demo with 20 executives

According to local reports, NH Bank president and CEO Lee Dae-hoon held a demo of the mobile employee ID card with 20 executives and employees at NH Digital Innovation Campus in Seoul.

Based on blockchain technology, the new mobile ID system is designed to provide better control of staff’s personal information and protect their personal data while enabling handy authentication via a smartphone instead of a traditional ID card. At the launch, the blockchain-based ID service will reportedly be used for commuting and managing access to entry into offices. In future, the mobile ID card is planned to be expanded to facilitate setting up appointments and payments for services.

Initial DID Association is hosted by Korean Ministry of Science and ICT

According to JoongAng Ilbo, NH Bank’s demo of blockchain-powered ID service is the first commercial application of distributed identity technology developed by decentralized identifier (DID) consortium known as the Initial DID Association. The association apparently refers to a blockchain identity-focused consortium featuring major local firms that Cointelegraph reported on in July 2019.

The founding group of the Initial DID Association included Samsung, financial services firms like KEB Hana Bank, Woori Bank, KOSCOM, as well as mobile carriers SK Telecom, KT, and LG UPlus. As reported by JoongAng Ilbo, the consortium is hosted by the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Internet & Security Agency.

By rolling out the first commercial application of its blockchain-powered DID technology, South Korea’s Initial DID Association showcases yet another proof for the big potential of blockchain for digital identification purposes. As blockchain provides an immutable ledger for data records, its technology has become a major tool implemented for streamlining digital identification by global tech giants like IBM.

Additionally, a number of countries over the globe have been experimenting with blockchain-based identity tools so far. As such, in late 2019, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan announced its plans to launch a project of blockchain-based digital identification system in the first quarter of 2020. Previously, five Canadian banks including the Royal Bank of Canada started deploying a blockchain-based user identification system to enable better security.

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