Visitors to a popular tourist spot in South Korea are now required to use a blockchain-based app to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
The tourist spot in question is Jeju Island, which is the most popular domestic tourist destination in South Korea. Overall, the area sees 15 million visitors every year.
Visitors to Jeju Island are now required to download the Zzeung app upon arrival. This app is then needed to check tourists into local businesses and attractions.
Once the app is downloaded, the user verifies their identity through a South Korean telecom service. The app then issues a verifiable credential on the blockchain. The user then sets up a PIN number or fingerprint authentication, which is then issued a separate verifiable credential on the blockchain.
Once the two credentials are stored on the user’s mobile device, a QR code is used to check into tourist attractions and businesses. The businesses do not receive any of the personal data of the user, only the blockchain-issued certificates.
The usage of the app allows the authorities to track visitors to Jeju Island, which can help tremendously if a COVID-19 case is reported. An example would be if a person visiting a museum reported coming down with the coronavirus, then authorities could track their previous movements and issue warnings to those who may have come into contact with the infected person. Such tracking info would also help authorities figure out who should be tested to see if they are suffering from the virus.
The pilot program for this app based upon the blockchain is already running for provincial government offices. The program will expand on August 24 to over 50 private businesses. A further expansion will take place in September when the app is rolled out to private businesses in all eight districts of Jeju Island.
Blockchain to the rescue
Jong-hyup, Kim, CEO of ICONLOOP, the developer of the Zzeung app, says, “This cooperation with Jeju Island is opening new possibilities for real-life application of blockchain DID [Decentralized Identity] authentication in the post-COVID-19 era. As more users directly experience safe and convenient DID service at scale, we will realize many more new ways that blockchain technology can be applied to their daily lives.”
Tae-bong Lim, Director of Health and Welfare of Jeju Self-Governing Province, adds, “Through this new infectious disease prevention system, Jeju Island will be able to be reborn as a safe and representative tourist destination in Korea. We look forward to revitalizing the local economy, which has been stagnant due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.”
Compared to other countries in the region, South Korea has fared pretty well during the coronavirus pandemic. Out of a country of over 51 million people, there have been a total of 16,670 reported cases and 309 deaths.