The South Korean financial giant Woori Bank has become the first commercial bank in the nation to start accepting blockchain-powered driver’s licenses as an official form of authentication.
Blockchain-powered driving permits were first unveiled in 2019 under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and ICT and the nation’s police force. All three of South Korea’s biggest mobile carriers (SK, KT, and LG U+) operate apps that store digitized versions of the conventional card-type driver’s licenses on users’ mobile phones.
The police then embraced the move with greater gusto in 2020, by which point around a million users had been issued with digital permits.
The permits make use of blockchain-based Distributed Identity Identification (DID) technology.
The media outlet White Paper reported that Woori’s move has been endorsed by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, which is currently implementing the government’s so-called Digital New Deal project.
The adoption project will allow customers to use their apps to verify their identity at Woori Bank branches when making in-person transaction requests. Before the move, South Korean banks only accepted social security cards, passports, and card-type driving permits as authentication-related documents.
The move also has support from the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation (KOMSCO). The latter was once the nation’s official coin minter and banknote printer, as well as its biggest ID card issuer.
Of late, though, it has become one of South Korea’s biggest local stablecoin issuers, working in tandem with local governments around the country to launch fiat KRW-pegged tokens and blockchain-powered gift certificates.
The bank also hinted that it was looking to explore the permits use to verify “non face-to-face” transactions in the future – an indication that it could also allow its customers to use the permits to verify online payments and transfers at a later date.
In order to make use of the new system, Woori stated that customers would need to have been issued with a mobile driver’s license from an authorized license test center or a police station.
Woori branches will now allow customers to app-generated scan QR codes to “verify the integrity of submitted information” using blockchain technology.
Scanning the code will allow branch-based staff members to access a range of information displayed on their terminal monitors, Woori added.
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