South Korea's largest wireless carrier, SK Telecom (SKT), is partnering with the world’s fifth largest telecoms firm, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, to develop a blockchain-based mobile identification solution. The news was reported in a press release from SKT on Feb. 21.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the two firms is to be formalized during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, which kicks off on Feb. 25 in Barcelona, Spain.
The collaboration will see SKT and Deutsche Telekom’s R&D unit, T-Labs, develop a commercialized, blockchain-powered mobile identity solution that can be used for applications such as access control, dealings and contracts.
SKT told local news outlet The Korea Times that it believes blockchain-based digital identification will significantly streamline and secure the process of verifying personal data. Oh Se-hyun, who heads SKT’s blockchain unit, noted:
"Mobile blockchain identification can be utilized in a variety of areas including logins both online and in offices. Beginning with the latest collaboration, we will further spur the innovation of information and communications technologies."
SKT has outlined that many existing e-commerce and other web-based interactions require users to disclose personal data — such as their date of birth and phone number — whose circulation subsequently escapes their control.
In an encrypted blockchain system, such disclosure would be unnecessary, thereby offering more autonomous and secure management of sensitive information. SKT told reporters that blockchain-powered identification solutions could ultimately replaced government documents, including passports.
Set to demonstrate their joint solution during MWC 2019, the Korean and German firms have said they expect travelers from both countries will face less friction confirming their identities by using the new system.
As reported, Deutsche Telekom has recently joined the Linux Foundation’s open source blockchain project Hyperledger, used by many enterprise-focused firms, such as IBM.
SKT, for its part, has previously participated in the blockchain economy by backing Korean crypto exchange Upbit, as well as launching a blockchain-based asset management service and blockchain startup support platform in April 2018.