Why the leading countries in IT do need DID technology?

By Yeong Rin KIM, Chairman of DID Alliance Korea

Would it be possible for a Korean banker to purchase goods through Amazon while traveling in the United States without requiring to perform an additional identification process? If a U.S. college graduate gets a job in Korea, could the graduate submit a certificate registered in the U.S. to a Korean company without having to perform any additional verification procedures? The answer to these questions lies in the Decentralized Identity (DID) technology based on blockchain, which has recently drawing the attention of main players in the IT industry.

Decentralized Identity is an innovative technology based on the management of personal information on distributed network rather than in central server, enabling transparent operations of issues related to hacking or ID forgery. From the user’s perspective, Self-Sovereign Identity can be realized as users manage directly their own personal information. Furthermore, the access to major services that adopt DID can be made easier as the technology not only simplifies log in to various websites, but also eases complex procedures traditionally required in the identification process. In this context, various companies are building consortiums around DID services, aiming at securing ecosystems and finding new momentum.

As one of the main technology of the fourth industrial revolution, Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) such as blockchain is being actively adopted by public organizations such as the Estonian government, which uses it since blockchain is an immutable, tamper-proof public ledger. In addition, this innovative technology does not only strengthen security through data encryption, but it can also address trust issues related to the verification of the data user. Estonia has already reached agreements with several organizations in order to provide public, financial and private services through blockchain. The most significant use case is the e-residency program. Following this successful use case, blockchain will be implemented to further service areas, including the financial and medical sectors, as the Estonian government keep focusing on the development of public services based on the decentralized technology.

In this context, it is necessary to establish technical standards for authentication methods to make them more convenient for use in blockchain environments. In addition, setting DID standards and fostering international coordination and agreements is critical in order to enhance global economic activities relying on identity services. Various South Korean companies are also developing DID (Decentralized ID) platform based on blockchain technology to enable the access to various services. In that regard, the establishment of DID technical standards is necessary in order to expand the application of the technology not only to public services provided by major government agencies, but also to the global market and to any sectors (such as financial, medical and welfare sectors). In other words, the DID platforms should follow international technical standards when being developed to provide the best service to the end user.

In that regard, as one of the leading countries in IT, Korea should lead the way in terms of DID technology standardization. Being the pioneer that introduced international standards related to blockchain technology will not only allow the DID Alliance to exert a substantial influence in the relevant industry but also help the alliance act as a catalyst to generate a variety of markets.

With this aim, the DID Alliance Korea was launched on July 24 and the global DID Alliance will be launched in Seoul on October 22 to enhance global companies’ participation. DID Alliance is a non-profit organization, gathering companies in the world and aiming at supporting the convenient and secure exchange of anyone’s identity attributes anywhere, while fostering the interoperability of DID systems. DID Alliance encourages its partners to join its effort to spur the DID technology standardization.

If global public services have interest in implementing the relevant technical standards, DID Alliance could propel collaborative projects between global public institutions and its member companies so that digital ID card based on DID technology can be used in global online and offline services that require identification process. In addition, a close collaboration on the identity field between financial institutions, Fintech, and the DID Alliance may open a new era where anyone could have a unique digital ID, which is the fundamental infrastructure to get access to benefits offered by social safety net. DID Alliance also plans to provide multiple benefits such as simple identification means for the unregistered population that is excluded from social infrastructure. Thus, the unregistered population can be reintegrated in the society and fulfill their social responsibilities, which creates a virtuous circle based on efficient identity systems as social expenditures can eventually be reduced.

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