Blockchain-based COVID-19 vaccine passports coming to South Korea

South Korea has become the latest country to announce the launch of a COVID-19 vaccination passport powered by blockchain technology. The passport will roll out later this month to allow a faster return to normalcy.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun announced that the government has already developed the passport and it will be available through a smartphone application. “The people will be able to experience a sense of return to normalcy from a vaccine passport or green card systems,” he stated.

The Prime Minister stated that the passport is built on blockchain technology to ensure security from possible identity theft.

South Korea joins a growing list of jurisdictions adopting vaccine passports, seeking to bounce back after the lockdowns and shutdowns quickly. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the state had launched Excelsior Pass, its blockchain-based vaccine passport. New Yorkers will use the passport to access arenas, sports stadiums, wedding receptions, and other public places.

The state partnered with tech giant IBM to develop Excelsior Pass, which Cuomo said uses “secure technologies, like blockchain and encryption, that are woven throughout Excelsior Pass to help protect the data, making it verifiable and trusted.”

Vaccine passports could become more prevalent in the coming months. Health ministers from G7 countries recently pledged to work together towards an internationally-recognized vaccine passport.

“The G7 partners agreed that there needs to be some consistency and some collaboration among the countries, so we have some kind of system that would be recognizable, no matter where a person was traveling,” Canadian health minister Patty Hajdu said.

Addressing a press conference, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also confirmed the vaccine passports would become a big part of international travel in a recent press conference. “On the issue of vaccine certification, there’s definitely going to be a world in which international travel will use vaccine passports,” he said.

Contrary to popular claims, some think blockchain technology is not as significant in developing vaccine passports as claimed.

Speaking about the New York State Excelsior Pass, an expert lamented, “There is zero reason for blockchain to be involved in this problem.” Another expert told the Intercept, “The state was only using blockchain for the hype, not for data protection.”

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