Tech

Steve Kaaru

South Korean banks, telcos partner on a mobile identity initiative

A consortium of financial services providers, a tech giant and mobile carriers has partnered to launch a blockchain-based mobile identification system. The consortium intends on eliminating the involvement of intermediaries such as government entities in identity verification.

According to a report by The Korea Times, the financial services partners are KEB Hana Bank, KOSCOM and Woori Bank. The three mobile carriers who will form the consortium are KT, SK Telecom and LG UPlus, with Samsung bringing its tech expertise as well.

The consortium will develop a blockchain-based mobile system that will store key personal information for its individual users. Such information will include bank account numbers and resident registration numbers. This self-sovereign identity system will eliminate the involvement of intermediaries and give the individuals the ultimate control over their identity.

The system also seeks to eliminate the risk of fraud by using blockchain technology. The technology is resistant to data modification and once a detail or transaction is recorded on the blockchain, it’s permanent and verifiable.

The partnership between the three sectors was ideal, the partners believe. Banks have been the leaders in identity verification thus far, making them a crucial part of the consortium. On the other hand, telecom companies have extensive experience managing stable mobile services, giving the consortium the easiest way to landing its users.

Samsung will bring expertise in the mobile technology industry and will use Samsung Knox to ensure the secure management of the stored data. Samsung Knox is an enterprise mobile security solution pre-installed in most of Samsung’s devices, from tablets to smartphones to wearables.

In a statement, the consortium commented, “The project will create the strongest possible synergy effect as the participants are top leaders in their respective fields. Cooperation among ICT, telecom and financial services will help people experience new and advanced services.”

The service will launch in 2020, with the consortium intending to bring in more partners including universities, large businesses, hospitals, entertainment facilities, insurers and more. In addition to identity verification, the service will seek to broaden its scope to include certification of academic records, eliminating hiring irregularities. In the insurance industry, it will seek to reduce fraud by certifying treatment and compensation records.

Blockchain identity verification has become increasingly popular, with five Canadian banks recently announcing that they will allow their users to use the technology to verify their identities. The five, which are the largest in the North American country, partnered with Verified.me, a Toronto-based blockchain identity verification startup.

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