The idea of a blockchain-based digital Identity system began as an innovative dream with start-ups in the space, such as Civic, working towards it. Now, however, the potential and practicality of being able to get such a service out to market have caught the attention of a lot of high-level enterprises.
Microsoft has been looking to build it decentralized identity (DID) network atop the Bitcoin blockchain in the hopes of being the first to offer the chance at bypassing the need for verifying one's identity online. It would remove the dependence on physical or digital proof managed by a central party.
But there is now competition emanating from the East as Samsung, one of the largest multinational conglomerates based in South Korea, has teamed up to form a consortium to launch a blockchain-based mobile identification system as early as next year.
Samsung joins three financial services firms, and three mobile carriers, in this partnership to develop a self-sovereign identity. This could remove the involvement of intermediaries ― mostly government-certified or publicly run entities that manage personal data ― thereby enabling individuals and organizations to assert their identity in online transactions.
The prize for Samsung, Microsoft, Civic and any other company, on any scale, chasing this innovation is enormous as many feel a decentralized blockchain-based Identification system is one of the top applications for blockchain currently. Thus, being first to market with such a system would be a massive boost for the company rolling out this revolutionary new way to identify oneself.
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A full Korean effort
Samsung has become a quiet leader of enterprise blockchain adoption in the east, having even integrated blockchain and cryptocurrency wallets into its flagship mobile phone, the S10. It is now looking for some help to take this adoption of the technology to the next level.
Those involved in Samsung's consortium include KEB Hana Bank, Woori Bank, KOSCOM, SK Telecom, KT, and LG UPlus. With the tech giant, as well as telecommunications companies, and the backing of some major banks, the group will have a lot of firepower at their disposal for this task.
The blockchain mobile system is intended to allow an individual to store critical personal information, including resident registration numbers, bank account numbers, and use them whenever the need arises.
The key outcomes of a successful deployment of this blockchain-based ID system is a reduction in fraud, thanks to the immutable nature of the tech. It also empowers users to have control of their data and increases efficiency, not to mention creates a permanent record of transactions.
A powerful consortium
Consortiums have become part and parcel of the emerging blockchain space with companies looking to lean on others for their expertise. This group are also mindful of that and believe that they have potent synergies to reach their goals.
"The project will create the strongest possible synergy effect as the participants are top leaders in their respective fields," the consortium said in a statement. "Cooperation among ICT, telecom, and financial services will help people experience new and advanced services."
It is also a big stamp of approval of the technology that banks are willing to trust it enough to potentially verify their clients' ID's when it comes to financial services, and of course, the mobile world is hugely connected to proof of identity.
It is also worth visiting the competitive nature of the mobile devices world. Samsung and Apple are continually fighting for the top spot in a very lucrative and competitive market. Samsung has undoubtedly been streaks ahead in terms of blockchain adoption and usage in their devices in comparison with Apple.
If the South Korean giant can offer its users the chance to secure their identity on the blockchain, and for them to be able to use it for payments and proof, it will be a massive feather in the cap, and potentially a big drawcard for new users.
People are highly aware of the difficulties of proving identity as it currently stands, and the dangers of having centralized systems in control of identification. Therefore, the successful deployment of a blockchain-based digital ID has the power to put competition like Apple way behind.