The government of Sierra Leone plans to fully adopt a blockchain-enabled national identity system by the end of 2019.

United Nations involved

President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio reportedly claimed that the new infrastructure will allow financial institutions to verify identities and build credit histories, tech publication NFCW reported on Sept. 2.

The new project, called the National Digital Identity Platform (NDIP), is a collaboration between the United Nations and San Francisco-based nonprofit Kiva, a key technology partner of Sierra Leone since September 2018.

According to the report, the NDIP is being deployed in two major stages. The first involved identities being digitized — and the second, due to be finished by the end of the year, involves creating non-duplicating, non-reusable and universally recognized National Identification Numbers.

Financial resilience and security

The president claimed that blockchain-enabled access to credit and financial services is expected to significantly improve the lives of citizens by making them more financially resilient. He said that the new national ID system “directly translates into citizens having improved access to affordable credit to invest in entrepreneurial endeavors.”

Bio emphasized the high security standards of the upcoming platform, stressing that data on every resident will be stored at the National Civil Registration Authority and protected with strict confidentiality in line with international guidelines and practices. 

He also noted the platform’s ability to write new records for data modification as one of the major benefits of implementing blockchain tech. 

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, blockchain technology is set to become a multi-industry solution in Sierra Leone, where more than 85% of the population lack internet access and at least 75% are unbanked.