South Korea launches blockchain-based vaccine passports

South Korea will roll out vaccine passports using blockchain technology later this month via a smartphone app, the country’s prime minister said Thursday.

South Korea, along with a number of other nations, is introducing vaccine certificates that allow cross-border travel while reducing the risk of infection.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun suggested that there could be significant benefits for citizens at home as well:

“The introduction of a vaccination pass, or ‘green pass’, allows only those who have been vaccinated to experience the recovery of their daily lives,” he said during a daily cross-agency pandemic meeting.

The government developed the app using blockchain technology to provide security against the possibility of identity theft. “”[Systems] In other countries, no personal data is stored while the vaccination status can be checked, ”said Chung.

While 77,000 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in South Korea so far, there were another 551 cases per day on Wednesday. The government hopes to have 12 million people vaccinated by June.

Brazil also uses a blockchain-based system to track vaccinations, while IBM helped New York develop the Excelsior Pass, which uses blockchain technology for information security. The New York state government said of the passport:

“Companies and venues can scan and validate your passport to ensure you meet any COVID vaccination or testing requirements for entry.”

China has put a system in place and the European Union plans to do so by June. The International Air Transport Association is developing an app called the Travel Pass that may become the standard for cross-border travel.

Vaccination records are still very controversial, especially in the US and parts of the crypto community. South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem called the concept “one of the most un-American ideas in our nation’s history,” while Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis seeks to ban mandatory COVID passports in the state.

Crypto can also play a small role in thwarting efforts to impose non-blockchain-based vaccination certificates. The BBC reports that the cyber security agency CheckPoint found 1,200 advertisements for vaccines and vaccine passports on the darknet:

“Check Point investigators found that many sellers were offering fake documents, including one from the UK, with a vaccination card for $ 150, using the elusive cryptocurrency Bitcoin as a payment method.”