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Over a Million South Koreans Now Hold Blockchain-Based Drive...

Over a Million South Koreans Now Hold Blockchain-Based Drivers Licenses

Over a million South Koreans now boast of having drivers licenses issued on the blockchain, as per local reports Thursday.

Blockchain ID Accepted Everywhere

Launched just over two months ago in May, the South Korean program for issuing driver licenses over a public blockchain has already attracted over one million Koreans, showing huge interest in the technology and a strong use case for the future of blockchain systems.

The development means South Koreans have submitted their physical, hardcopy physical driver’s license for a blockchain-powered alternative used with the PASS smartphone app. Korea is one of the most tech-forward countries in the world, so the news is not surprising.

The one million figure represents over 3% of South Korea’s driving population, which stood at 32.2 million in 2019 according to statistics and data tracking firm Statista. The PASS app, and the blockchain license, were first approved last year by South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT for use throughout the country.

May this year was when the project was finally launched. The National Police Agency in partnership with the Korea Road Traffic Authority, and the country’s three major telecommunication providers: SK, KT, and LG U+ collaborated at the time.

Korea Turns to Blockchain

Today, over 27 of the country’s driver’s license testing centers use the blockchain-powered mobile application to renew and reissue their digital driver licenses.

It’s not just for highway and traffic usage. The blockchain ID is fully recognized as an age verifier at alcohol-vending places and other shops with a minimum legal requirement. Everything can be verified and is possible via showing a simple QR code on one’s mobile phone application. Non-Korean residences and ex-pats have an English version of the license.

South Korea isn’t the only country to look at transitioning existing licenses to digital formats on the blockchain. The Australian government had, last year, proposed a system for  Ethereum-based driver licenses to be issued and accepted for use in the country.

Meanwhile, the project is one of many in line receiving a blockchain boost in South Korea. Last month, the Korean government said it was partnering with Sendsquare, a blockchain startup in charge of the FLETA Blockchain, to develop a proof-of-concept project which aims to store the data of the nation’s 3.6 million diabetes patients on a tamper-proof distributed ledger.

According to Choi Ki-young, the Minister of Science and Technology, South Korea can take advantage of the COVID-19 crisis and develop hyper-connected and faceless blockchain systems as the country drives towards being a market leader. 

Presently, the objective is to narrow the gap between theirs and those of developed countries by pursuing original ideas and converging technologies while simultaneously offering support and strengthening global standards.

A 2018 survey by The Institute for Information and Communications Technology Promotion (IITP)–a government institution, noted that South Korea was approximately 2.4 years behind global leaders like the United States, China, and Japan in meeting global technological standards. They cited a lack of support from the government and strict blockchain regulations.

Seven Key Areas Identified, an Online Voting and Election System Prioritized

Therefore, the government is driving to establish blockchain systems in voting, donations, social welfare, postal services, real estate transactions, renewable energy, finance, and social welfare. 

However, the government’s priority is to build a voting system and avenues through which local businesses can incorporate blockchain in their operations from next year. 

Integral to the online voting and election system is the Digital Identity (DID) service. This service enables citizens to conveniently manage their personal information while preventing duplication of data by institutions. 

Notably, the system diverges away from the highly fragmented, insecure, and exclusive traditional identity systems that have been a source of controversy. In the United States, the use of the in-mail voting system is stirring heated debate with President Donald Trump claiming this voting system will lead to “massive rigging.”

With a blockchain-based voting and elections system that merges DID, there is unification and interoperability all from a tamper-proof infrastructure offering benefits to governments and end-users. 

In addition, the country has also rolled out a blockchain strategy to launch online voting and election system by 2022.

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