outh Korea intends to provide citizens with smartphones with a digital identity secured by blockchain to boost economic growth by tapping into the world's most tech-savvy population.

Smartphone-implanted IDs are among the most recent emerging technologies supporting the digital economy that has grown as more individuals work from home, make cashless payments, and explore the metaverse.

Digital IDs make web verification easier by eliminating the need to photograph certificates or log in using text-based authentication codes. Instead, activities such as applying for government benefits, transferring money, and even voting are only a pin or fingerprint away.

The World Bank describes it as a game changer, and McKinsey & Co. believe they have the potential to increase a country's GDP by up to 13% while cutting business costs by trillions of dollars.

The firm’s estimate is based on the widespread adoption of digital IDs, which saves time in administrative tasks, reduces payroll fraud, expands consumer credit, facilitates trade, and creates new markets.

Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/digital-identification-a-key-to-inclusive-growth?cid=soc-web 

"Every service that hasn't been able to transition online completely will now be allowed to do so," said Suh Bo Ram, director-general of Korea's digital-government bureau, who is leading the initiative. Within a decade, Korea could yield at least 60 trillion won ($42 billion), or 3% of GDP, in economic value, he predicted.

Koreans' enthusiasm for initial implementation may also be beneficial. According to the Portulans Institute, a Washington-based think tank, they rank first in the world in terms of optimism and ability to apply technology in daily life, companies, and government.

Source: https://networkreadinessindex.org/country/korea-rep/ 

The Most Technologically Competent

Koreans are the best at using technology in everyday life, business, and government. Locals currently use resident registration cards, which are similar to social security cards in the United States, to identify themselves. According to the proposal, those IDs would be embedded in mobile devices via an app.

Korea plans to introduce digital IDs in 2024 and hopes to have 45 million citizens use them within two years. This ambition may be hampered by the fact that each individual must travel to a town office and pay a fee to renew their registration card.

Since the system will be entirely based on decentralized identity, an innovative strand of blockchain technology, the government will not have access to data stored on specific phones, which include details of whose digital IDs are used, how they're used, and where, he said.

Blockchain, popularly known as the Bitcoin engine, is a digital data log that is validated by the network's devices whenever it is updated. Cybercriminals needed to break through each individual device to manipulate the data, and the possibility of theft would be reduced because there would be no primary server storing information.

Other governments have acknowledged the benefits of digital IDs as well. According to its website, the government of Estonia, in which most of its 1.3 million eligible citizens have IDs to vote, pay bills, and sign documents, enables devices to be utilized for verification if a special SIM card is attached. Germany has a chip-based initiative that is similar.

Other advantages of digital IDs, according to supporters, include:

  • Providing online medical services without requiring patients to visit doctors in person
  • Scanning smartphones over kiosks to enter hotel rooms
  • Preventing ID theft and forgery
  • Contract approval with no need to sign them
  • Improved airport fast-track boarding procedures

What do you think of the possibility of having a digital ID that is stored on the blockchain? Drop your thoughts by sharing this article on social media.

Oct 20, 2022
Digital Lifestyle

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