Mobile Banking App Offered by South Korea’s Shinhan Bank Now Uses Blockchain based Decentralized ID Authentication

Blockchain-based decentralized identity authentication services (DID) could potentially replace public certificates that are used for financial services, which may include those for mobile banking. This particular use case was recently commercialized for the very first time by South Korea’s Shinhan Bank.

As mentioned in a recent update:

“The era of ‘self-ownership of data’ has begun, in which people store and manage their own identification information directly on their own phone.”

Shinhan Bank, which is one of South Korea’s largest financial institutions, noted on September 3 that they have begun conducting real name authentication via their mobile banking app, called ‘SOL’. The ID verification process is carried out via ICONLOOP’s MyID-based DID service, known as ‘Zzeung,’ which was introduced last month.

DID (Decentralized Identity) allows individual users to prove their identities by retrieving saved identity information from their smartphones. This information may be submitted directly by the user when it’s required, instead of it being stored with third-parties or agencies.

To begin using the Shinhan Bank DID service, customers have to install the DID app (ZZeung) and then set a password. After completing this step, they can begin using the Zzeung app in order to issue an identity certificate that may be used at Shinhan Bank. But the issuer of the certificate is the bank itself, and the certificate is actually issued by moving to Shinhan Bank’s mobile banking web app.

Customers must complete relevant verification steps through their mobile phones, and also update their ID cards and Shinhan Bank accounts, before they are issued a DID identity certificate.

After the certificate is issued, it may be stored in the Zzeung app and can then be used for authentication, which may be carried out the next time by providing a 6-digit password or using fingerprint recognition.

The Zzeung app works just like a digital wallet platform that can also store issued ID certificates. If there are other service providers besides Shinhan Bank that want to issue certificates, then they may also be managed from one place.

There’s no noticeable change from the end-user’s point of view when using this new DID platform, because they had already been using similar interfaces where they were also required to enter simple passwords and perform biometric authentication when accessing their mobile banking apps.

Jang Hyun Ki, head of Shinhan Bank’s digital R&D Center, stated:

“Because this is the first time DID is applied, we are only using it for some services at first. We are considering gradually expanding the use of DID and using it to log in to the banking app.”

He added:

“Although ordinary users might not be able to feel a big difference, the architectural view that is implemented is completely different. It can be said that DID opens the era of self-sovereignty of personal authentication information like MyID.”

An ICONLOOP representative remarked:

“At the moment, Shinhan Bank was the first to start the DID service, but as the number of issuing agencies increases, it will be more convenient because you can store your authentication information in one app and use it in multiple places.” 

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