Finland Solves Refugee Identity with Blockchain Debit Cards

Finland has said it has “solved” the problem of refugee identity, using the Blockchain to record data of new residents.

As part of its commitment to support asylum seekers, Finland is providing arrivals with a prepaid debit card instead of cash, and linking the identity of cardholders to the Blockchain.

As Technology Review reports, quoting Finnish Immigration Service director Jouko Salonen, the issue of “strongly authenticated identity” is no longer a problem.

“We have found a way to solve that,” he told the publication.

The cards are the product of local startup MONI, and function more like a bank account replacement than a simple payment device.

In issuing them, Finnish authorities are able to track both spending and identity with the added benefit that the Blockchain data is immutable.

“Our purpose has always been financial inclusion, and especially to help people in developing countries,” MONI CEO Antti Pennanen added.

A cross-Europe effort to solve the problem of refugee identity is currently a topic of debate for the European Parliament.

A task force is looking into the options for using the Ethereum Blockchain to alleviate the problem, with the latest information showing an allocation of €850,000 ($1 mln) for 2017 having been half spent.

“[...] EU governments in partnerships with other countries and organizations (e.g. NGOs) need innovative solutions to manage increasing flows of migrants and their temporary stay in different countries,” the organization commented last month.”


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