Various governments around the world are planning to use Blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) in their bid to establish a national identity system in their jurisdictions as of early October 2017. These systems are intended to be safe and secure and can be used in both public and private transactions.
The need to create said systems is driven by the susceptibility of existing systems against various risks like identity theft. An example is the case of consumer credit reporting agency Equifax, whose latest data breach has resulted in the theft of personal data of over 140 million individuals.
Countries and states using DLT to establish national identity systems
Several countries are piloting the use of DLT to create their own national identity systems that span the private and government sector. Among these countries is Singapore, which is eyeing a system that would expand beyond the functions of its existing citizen account for e-government services called the SingPass. The initiative is part of the Singaporean government’s smart nation program.
Estonia, meanwhile, is another country which successfully utilized DLT to create its identity system called ID-kaarts. Among the benefits of the system are an all-digital government experience enjoyed by all citizens, substantial reduction of bureaucracy, and high citizen satisfaction with their government transactions.
Moreover, the state of Illinois has launched a pilot trial on a Blockchain-based birth registry/ID system with a goal to individualize and secure identities. The state government is partnering with Utah-based company Evernym and is expected to use the Sovrin Foundation’s publicly accessible distributed identity ledger in the project.
Benefits of DLT-based identity systems
There are several expected benefits of using DLT in creating identity systems. Among these are the shift of power and profit from data management to individual owners from major companies and the right of the owner to “sell” his/her own data.