In brief

  • South Korean bank Nonghyup is trialling Distributed ID, a blockchain-powered ID system for employees.
  • Distributed ID has been developed in collaboration with Nonghyup Bank and SK Telecom as part of the Initial DID Alliance.
  • If the trial is a success, Nonghyup will explore additional features including in-house digital payments.

Nonghyup, the fifth largest commercial bank in South Korea, is now using blockchain technology to verify the identity of its employees.

The bank has deployed Distributed ID, a blockchain-powered ID card system co-created by Nonghyup Bank and SK Telecom. Around 20 Nonghyup employees will use the Distributed ID system to check in and out of work, using a digital key cards on their smartphones to enter and exit the bank’s headquarters. 

Employees are now using digital key cards. Image: Shutterstock.

The system stores and processes sensitive data on a blockchain network, taking advantage of its immutability, and preventing potential data leaks and breaches. 

In-house payments on blockchain could be next

The collaboration between Nonghyup Bank and SK Telecom is a part of the Initial DID Alliance, an initiative set up by a consortium of South Korean corporations including Samsung Electronics, Woori Bank, and Hyundai Card.

“Moving forward, competition in the digital finance space will decide the future of every bank,” said Jang Seung-hyeon, vice president at Nonghyup. “Nonghyup will look towards facilitating its growth by introducing new innovative technologies like distributed ID.”

If the Distributed ID trial goes off without a hitch, Nonghyup plans to expand services on the blockchain. The bank said that it will explore the possibility of adding additional features including in-house digital payments and meeting management.

A crypto-friendly bank

Over the past two years, Nonghyup has built a reputation as a crypto-friendly financial institution. It was the only South Korean bank to sign a contract with Bithumb—one of the country’s largest crypto exchanges—to process withdrawals and deposits.

In South Korea, crypto exchanges use virtual bank accounts, a service offered by major banks that enables users to make instant deposits and withdrawals of South Korean won. That means they can hold the currency securely on exchanges.