In a recent (and long) interview with the Korean think-tank Yosijae: Future Consensus Institute, ICONLOOP CEO JH Kim discussed the many benefits that blockchain-based decentralized identification, also called DID, can yield.

Korea was at first a leader in online ID certification, but the country’s centralized, Active-X based system has grown increasingly antiquated. Even repeated presidential intervention has failed to kill the legacy system.

Kim — who did his 2 years of compulsory national service at a certificate developer — notes how Korea’s existing system is the product of government regulations that provide little choice to customers and force companies and developers to design products tailored to regulations, not their customers. Moreover, the existing solution supports only one browser — Microsoft Explorer — and the program grew bloated as functions were added.

Moreover, by charging users with responsibility for maintaining their private keys, the existing system encourages hackers to go after individuals through phishing and social engineering hacking instead of targeting financial institutions. This also allows financial institutions to avoid legal responsibility when hacks occurs.

Current Korean ID solutions cannot be exported, and overseas solutions cannot be imported. The result is a domestic cartel.

Enter DID

In our real-life wallets, we have lots of IDs and membership cards. Kim encourages us to think of DID as a real-life wallet in our smartphone, but better for three key reasons:

  1. Flash your ID card at a convenience store, and the clerk can see all of your info. With DID, you only provide the info you choose to provide.
  2. Because DID is decentralized, you can easily restore or recover it if it gets lost.
  3. Even if some of the data on your device is made public, not everything is, thanks to the decentralized manner in which the data on your device is saved.

Kim says we need to reclaim sovereignty over our personal information. This begins with waking up to the fact that without reclaiming it, companies and governments can do whatever they want with our data. Knowing when to grant permission to companies to use our data and how they are using it is a first step.

The above constituted only half of JH Kim’s interview (it’s a long one, as we mentioned). We’ll follow up with part two sometime after tomorrow’s festivities. Have a merry Christmas!