Here’s a fun Konglish (Korean + English) word for the day: ‘Untact’. Dating at least as far back as 2017, the term is a portmanteau using the prefix ‘un’ with the word ‘contact’. It is used to denote the desire to minimize human contact by exchanging information remotely.

ICONLOOP has a blockchain solution tailor-made for untact. Their myID digital identification service is designed to be used for opening bank accounts without having to show up at the bank in person.

More significantly, myID has received approval from South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC). This grants myID inclusion in Korea’s “Innovative Financial Services and Regulations Sandbox”. This means that ICONLOOP is exempted from restrictions on licensing and sales activities pertaining to its myID project. 

Jonghyup Kim, CEO of ICONLOOP, stated in the press release, “The designation of my-ID as an Innovative Financial Service will be a monumental turning point in the growth of Korea’s blockchain industry. Although it has been somewhat difficult to find a meaningful use of blockchain technology in everyday life so far, this will be an opportunity to prove and verify the usefulness of blockchain technology. I hope that this marks not only the expansion of blockchain technology but also the creation of an overall digital identity ecosphere.”

Key to the digital world

myID solves a real-life problem for online identity verification. Currently, the only way to prove one’s identity online for financial institutions in Korea is to take a real-time picture of one’s identification card. Customers can’t keep a permanent digital ID card on record, as there is no way to prove it hasn’t been tampered with.

But blockchain completely changes that. myID is authenticated once at a financial institution, and can then be used over and over again as a verifiable digital identification card. What’s more, each customer owns their digital ID, and there are no middlemen peddling customer data. Rather, myID is expected to be ‘self-sovereign’, meaning that data is only shared specifically with whatever entities you give it to.

Now let this sink in: every myID will be authenticated at a financial institution. Arguably the most respected form of authentication in Korea. Meaning, these IDs should also be accepted everywhere else. ICONLOOP’s press release provided the example of authenticating driver’s licenses for car-sharing services or use your myID to log in to an online shopping site. How many more possibilities can you think of?