South Korea’s tourist hotspot launches DLT-based app tracing COVID-19


 Jeju Island, a major tourist destination in South Korea, is introducing a government-backed, system for tracking COVID-19 contacts based on blockchain technology.

On Jan. 14, the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and blockchain technology firm Iconloop announced that the blockchain-based contact tracing system is now fully operational.

Called “Jeju Safety Code,” the project was initiated in August 2020 to enable COVID-19 contact tracing for Jeju Island’s 15 million annual visitors. The project has been developed jointly by Iconloop and Jeju Island through a public-private partnership agreement. Since August, the local government and Iconloop have been implementing the system at public institutions on the island as well as a number of businesses like restaurants in the Jeju Provincial Office area.

Following successful pilots, Jeju Safety Code was featured as part of wider social programs like the “Safety Net Strengthening” and the “Jeju-type New Deal Comprehensive Plan” in October. At least 5,000 businesses on Jeju Island have applied to register for the system.

The Jeju Safety Code allows visitors and tourists to securely check in at public places without risking the loss of personal data. To use the Jeju Safety Code app, visitors scan a QR code at a business or tourist destination. Business owners can place QR codes across their facilities, allowing people to check in without forming a line.

According to the app’s creators, users do not need to sign up for an account to check in. When a visitor checks in, their location is authenticated, without the business needing to store any of their personal information.

Visitor’s personal identifying information and visit records are stored in a private blockchain network. The app uses Iconloop’s decentralized identity, or DID, technology system to ensure that all data is kept private unless a COVID-19 case is discovered. According to Iconloop, the information is only used for the purpose of epidemiological investigation of confirmed cases.

Iconloop has been actively collaborating with the South Korean government in blockchain development. In early January 2021, Iconloop secured approval from South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT to test its DID tech to manage driver’s license data in the country.