Might South Korea’s novel coronavirus outbreak mark a turning point that makes digital, non-face-to-face services a universal phenomenon?

MyID Alliance secretary-general Sunmoo Park seems to think so. Or so he told Korean-language news outlet News1 in an interview that appeared Tuesday.

The finance industry veteran with a decade of experience as CIO of KB Securities and NH Investment and Securities discussed why not only he but also South Korea’s leading financial and IT firms have taken a keen interest in decentralized IDs, or DID.

Park was first drawn to DID back in 2017, when ICONLOOP released its Chain ID solution, the world’s first blockchain joint authentication service with 26 local financial and investment companies. Serving with the Korea Financial Investment Association at the time, he liked how DID is a self-sovereign digital ID that gives the individual control over their personal identification information.

ICONLOOP didn’t stop at Chain ID, though. It then developed MyID, a self-sovereign DID platform launched with the aim of demonstrating that digital IDs could play the role currently served by ID cards.

With MyID, if you get your ID certified just once by a single financial institution, you can freely use services at other financial institutions without going through the hassle of certifying your ID again. For example, you can use a DID issued by Shinhan Bank to remotely open an account at Samsung Securities and look up your credit score.

Park said that current regulations mandate that you must upload a photo of your ID card or go through a mobile certification process to sign up for financial products. With MyID, though, all you need to do is prove once that you are who you say you are and the information is saved on the blockchain. Since data recorded on the blockchain is immutable, you can safely use it multiple times.

Park said MyID’s strength is that it can be grafted onto a financial industry that requires high-level ID verification, based on the platform’s inclusion into the Financial Services Commission’s sandbox for innovative financial services. He also pointed with pride to some of ICONLOOP’s other services, such as its certificate issuing platform “broof” and “VisitMe” visitor management solution.

He also expressed confidence that DID would take off in non-financial sectors as well.

The blockchain industry believes DID will grow in importance given how today, more than 1.1 billion of the world’s 7.7 billion people cannot prove who they are, restricting their ability to exercise their rights.

Even the cryptocurrency-skeptical FATF is actively researching DID. Park said the task force has adopted official guidelines on the use of global digital IDs. He said DID would come into active use when making international financial transactions, both between individuals and between institutions.

Park also predicted that DID will play an important role in the expansion of Fourth Industrial Revolution businesses. He said DID is optimal for high-trust business transactions in an internet environment where national borders do not exist. Based on DID, new business models will emerge that generate different kinds of added value.

Finally, Park said that for the DID industry to develop, a system to support innovative services through cooperation with the government needs to come into being. He called on the government to stop enacting positive regulations that confine businesses to only what they are explicitly told they are allowed to do. Instead, negative regulations that tell businesses what they can’t do but assume everything else is fair game are urgently needed.

The MyID Alliance currently has 47 local and international members, including Samsung Electronics and Shinhan Bank.