A South Korean city implements blockchain in its public services through an identification app

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Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, launched an identification application that uses a public block chain to verify citizen information.

The application was developed by Coinplug, a Korean startup working within the regulatory environment of the Busan Blockchain Free Zone. The developer used the Metadium block chain and its Decentralized Identifier technology to drive the application.

Through this system, user data is stored on their devices, and only a cryptographic test of the information is sent to the blockchain. This achieves a balance between the privacy of personal data and the need to create tamper-proof records. The latter can usually only be achieved through centralized servers that contain all the data.

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The implementation will enable citizens to access a wide range of „non face-to-face“ government services, which due to the COVID-19 pandemic became a much higher priority. Current use cases include the ability to use Busan Citizen ID and other types of government-issued smart cards. The application also features a crypto-currency wallet, which follows Coinplug’s efforts to integrate crypto-payments into South Korean post offices.

Busan’s strong involvement with blockchain

The trend of digitizing government services began long before the popularization of blockchain in some countries, according to a 2018 report.

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A Coinplug spokesman told Cointelegraph that Busan’s choice of a is part of the city’s drive for technological innovation, where blockchain plays an important role.


Busan’s regulatory environment allowed for the creation of several blockchain-related initiatives. In December 2019, this led to the launch of a local cryptomoney developed in cooperation with KT, one of Korea’s largest telecommunications providers.

This was one of the initial goals of the blockchain, and the city revealed such plans as early as July 2019.

In early Februry 2019, the city partnered with Hyundai Pay to promote fintech development in the city.

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The country in general also maintains a positive stance towards blockchain, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in July 2019 that the country must be at the forefront of effective blockchain regulation, while identifying personal data as one of its key uses.

Korean corporate giant LG has also made several moves in blockchain-based identification, and one representative told Cointelegraph that all login functions could be performed on a blockchain.