Unfortunately there are still masses of people in our world who do not have a single idea about the built in power of the blockchain.
Bitcoin can be used for so many different things, other than its current form as a store of value. But one new idea is just about as unique as they come: A blockchain passport that is globally accessible.
Christopher Ellis, a hacker with a penchant for decentralized security created a platform using off-the-shelf PGP encryption and a blockchain similar to Bitcoin’s to create what he calls “the World Citizenship Passport.” Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) provides end to end encryption and the blockchain provides Identification registry internet wide.
Fake passports are the bane of every immigration and customs office in the world. The most secure passports come from the United States but even with several layers of security, including laser imprinting and RFID chips they are hardly fool proof, especially when used outside the United States.
This new idea however, if adopted worldwide, would make it nearly impossible to fake because it does away with one of the main problems with the current system: Hundreds of different countries, all operating under different guidelines, issuing passports, i.e. decentralization gone wrong.
These new passports would certainly be decentralized in much the same way that Bitcoin is decentralized and they would not be controlled by any one country or issuing authority. The idea is that if things like large crowdsourcing operations can work smoothly using this type of technology, this model can be applied to the identification of individuals.
The problem will of course be getting nation-states to accept an idea like this. Issuing passports through a blockchain would take this control away from governments, which is something they are unlikely to relinquish. Ellis said about this problem:
“I wanted to create a voluntary ID system in which my proof of existence could be backed by a social network of my choosing. I expect everyone who plays by the rules to reject this out of hand because it doesn’t conform.”
Therein lays the potential catch: …everyone who plays by the rules. We are having a difficult time getting governments, any governments, to even classify Bitcoin as currency. We can only imagine how much problem it would be to get politicians to accept this type of idea, no matter how secure.
Ellis said on this project’s homepage that he wanted too give everyone the ability to grant one another world citizenship “by virtue of their being witnessed in space and in time”, and then documenting with photos and video, signing with PGP signatures, hashing and time stamping.
Ellis says that governments also have the option of folding this open-source technology into their existing passport issuing programs. But then it is certain that there will be issues of trust between governments. The United States for instance is unlikely to trust countries such as North Korea or Iran and their cryptography programs.
Did you enjoy this article? You may also be interested in reading these ones:
- The Digital Currency Dilemma: Anonymity vs. Privacy (Op-Ed)
- Bitcoin's "Political Neutrality is a Myth" - Amir Taaki Interview
- Bitstamp: Unverified Bitcoin Accounts at Risk as Deadline Looms