Samsung and Woori Bank Join New South Korean Blockchain Consortium

Neil Dennis

Samsung Electronics, the global tech giant, along with six other major South Korean companies has formed a consortium to build a blockchain network that enables authentication services.

Telecoms companies KT, LG U+ and SK Telecom, along with financial services firms KEB Hana Bank and Woori Bank and fintech Koscom have teamed up with Samsung to develop a blockchain ledger to enable "self-sovereign indentity" - an ID service that will remove the involvement of intermediaries, reported the Korean Times on Monday.

Personal Data Verification

The consortium's mobile system allows users to keep secure records of personal data, including bank account details and certificates for use whenever they are needed.

In a statement, the group of companies said:

 

The project will create the strongest possible synergy effect as the participants are top leaders in their respective fields. Co-operation among ICT [information and communications technology], telecoms and financial services will help people experience new and advanced services.

 

First to be digitized will be the issuance and distribution of college graduation certificates, allowing job applicants to easily present the authenticated documentation on their smartphones. The consortiun has said it will also use the network to review job applications when SK Telecom, KT and LG U+ are hiring.

The group added that it will expand to bring other companies on to the network in 2020 and deploy the system to areas such as medical records, insurance services and membership data.

Growth in Collaborative Unions

Blockchain collaboration is growing in popularity as network development can be very costly - from building a team of experts, to testing and deployment. Sharing resources as a consortium, therefore, has become a popular solution to mitigate some of these costs.

Among the biggest of these is R3, formed in 2015 of several of the world's largest financial institutions including Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. Hyperledger, also formed in 2015, now comprises some of the world's biggest tech companies including Cisco, IBM and Intel.

Consortiums are critical for blockchain technology to be adapted for enterprize projects, says audit firm Deloitte, and are formed as a consequence of the technolgy itself. Deloitte adds:

Consortiums allow companies to take advantage of blockchain network effects from day one, by providing a vehicle to create a governance structure around this collaboration, often among players that compete against one other.

Samsung and LG in Wallet Competition

Samsung and LG - the parent company of LG U+ - have already been active in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space and are competitors on smartphone crypto projects. 

Samsung's Galaxy S10 series of smartphones include a built-in cryptocurrency wallet app and LG announced last week it had applied for a US patent to offer a blockchain powered wallet and payments system on its next generation of phones.