South Korean Government to Issue Digital IDs Powered by Blockchain in 2024

Around 45 million South Korean citizens will adopt a decentralized, blockchain-based identity system by 2024.

Oct 21, 2022
by Akira Ming
South Korean Government to Issue Digital IDs Powered by Blockchain in 2024
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South Korea is rolling out a decentralized, blockchain-powered ID system

As one of the most digital-savvy nations in the world, South Korea is well-known for making early adoptions of emerging technologies. This time, the country is planning to issue blockchain-based national IDs by 2024, with around 45 million citizens embracing the technology within two years. 

The announcement came after South Korea's Seongnam city revealed similar plans to issue NFT citizenships in September. However, according to Bloomberg, the nationwide plan will be more extensive, in the sense that all citizens' digital IDs will be embedded as an app within mobile devices, having the same function as their physical identity cards. 

An economist at Korea's Science and Technology Policy Institute, Hwang Seogwon, told Cointelegraph that digital IDs could be used in finance, healthcare, taxes, and transportation. On the other hand, Suh Bo Ram, director-general of Korea's Digital Government Bureau, said the innovation could help businesses looking to go online. 

Also, Suh added that the plan would see South Korea adopting a decentralized identity system in the future. This means the government won't be able to access information and digital IDs stored on phones nor dictate how or where the IDs are used. 

Even so, this is not the first time the East Asia country has implemented a blockchain-powered identity solution. In August 2020, more than one million South Koreans signed up for a blockchain-based driver's license, which operates via Korea's PASS smartphone application. A month later, Korea's Internet & Security Agency (KISA) began pilot testing on an employee ID system powered by blockchain technology. 

Nonetheless, with South Korea championing daily blockchain applications, other countries are expected to jump on the bandwagon. A November 2019 study from global research firm Allied Market Research estimates that the blockchain identity management market will reach $11.46 billion by 2026, a CAGR of 79.2% from 2019 to 2026. 

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