South Korea’s Semi-Autonomous Jeju Island and the Country’s leading blockchain technology company ICONLOOP entered into a partnership. ICONLOOP has deployed its blockchain-powered identity management system for Jeju Island.
The system is apparently put in place as part of the Island’s efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. E-Crypto News caught up with Ricky Dodds, the Strategy and Communications Lead at ICONLOOP. Here is what he had to say.
Ricky Dodds, Strategy and Communications Lead at ICONLOOP
- What do you think are the advantages of blockchain technology over legacy systems when it comes to biometric identification?
Blockchain technology has clear advantages over legacy systems when it comes to ensuring authenticity of digital identity. For example, blockchain makes duplication impossible.
Biometric is a feature that helps better verify an individual, so its benefits to blockchain or legacy systems should be the same. The use of biometric is not relevant.
2. How does the Zzeung biometric identification work?
The use of biometric is not relevant. Zzeung uses blockchain technology ensuring user privacy by allowing the user to control his or her own data.
Zzeung is basically a digital identity aggregator allowing any entities including government and corporations to issue digital IDs. For example, Jeju Island government issues official digital IDs when tourists arrive.
Blockchain technology ensures there’s only one digital copy of this ID.Tourists use this ID to check-in to different businesses and tourists attractions around the island; however, personal information is never transferred to a third party.
When a confirmed COVID-19 case is known, Jeju Island Government can trace and notify high probability individuals.
3. Why do you think blockchain technology should be used for COVID-19 contact tracing?
The general public is afraid that big governments will monitor and infringe on their privacy. Blockchain-based decentralized ID eradicates such concerns.
Also, we believe this is a good first step to see how a less strict digital ID can be implemented to solve a serious problem. “Less strict” meaning that this will be used to check-in to restaurants as opposed to doing financial transactions, for example.
4. What security features have you put in place at the application level for Zzeung?
Without going into too much detail, we make sure that your personal information is secure. We also make sure that check-in data collected is trustworthy and stays private.
5. What happens to user identification data in the event of loss or theft of their mobile devices?
The individual could restore their data on a new device.
6. Do you expect your mobile identification mobile ecosystem to extend to other services? How will this occur?
We plan to integrate many identity services into the Zzeung application. Recently we launched Shinhan’s Digital ID, the first blockchain based KYC certificate that can be used across financial institutions.
And two other banks (NH and IBK) are launching soon. We believe Zzeung will gain traction as Korea’s leading digital ID aggregator platform.
7. What failsafe systems are in place to deter criminals who could physically force users to identify themselves?
No personal information can be transmitted by any force whatsoever.
8. What are the lessons to be gained from your recent partnership with the Jeju Government?
We’re more convinced that blockchain technology will be fully adopted by governments around the world. Of course, it takes time to replace current legacy systems. However, Jeju officials are extremely positive with our solution, which is the reason we are launching this product.
9. Due to the gestation period of the COVID-19 virus, how effective will the method of contact tracing implemented by your organization and the Jeju Government be?
We believe it’s a substantial improvement over the current system. However, we are still piloting and making adjustments.
10. What are the current challenges in the implementation of your COVID-19 contact tracing method?
The biggest challenge would be enforcement. We need full cooperation from all tourists and businesses in order for this new system to be successful. So far, contact tracing has been successful with less effort in other parts of Korea.
Also, Korean citizens are self-incentivized to check-in because they want to know if there is a chance that they are infected.
11. Where do you see blockchain-powered biometrics digital identity in the next 10 years?
For digital ID, we believe the use of blockchain technology is a no-brainer. Blockchain-based digital ID will replace all physical IDs such as passport, driver’s license, and employee ID. The benefits are clear as mentioned above.
Korea is already a near cashless society. Samsung and Apple Pay are replacing physical credit cards. Your ID is the last piece of physical item that still exists in your wallet.