Legal ID for All: Can Bitcoin's Blockchain Rise to the Challenge?


Legal Identity for All: Can Bitcoin's Blockchain Rise to the Challenge?

The United Nations aims to make it possible for all people to have a legal identity, including birth registration. This is one of the targets under the overarching goal of eradicating extreme poverty for all people everywhere by the year 2030. But providing an ID for everyone is a tremendous challenge. That is why experts are looking at Bitcoin’s blockchain technology as the solution.

Also read: BitID Will Verify Your Identity with the Bitcoin Blockchain

Legal Identity is a Fundamental Right

shutterstock_228688357Presently, billions of people do not officially exist. As reported by the World Bank, 2.4 billion of people around the world do not have official identification. This includes minors up to the age of 14, whose birth has not been registered and millions of women in poor regions of the developing world.

“Lack of personal official identification (ID) prevents people from fully exercising their rights and isolates them socially and economically—voting, legal action, receipt of government benefits, banking, and borrowing are all virtually closed off,” says the World Bank.

To eradicate poverty from the planet, the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has established 17 goals.

Goal 16, for example, aims to “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Specifically, Target 16.9 aims to:

By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.

Providing legal identity is fundamental for the successful attainment of many of the Agenda’s 17 goals. The World Bank details these goals as follows:

  • Social protection, including for the most vulnerable (SDG 1.3)
  • Assistance in dealing with shocks and disasters (SDG 1.5)
  • Access of the poor to economic resources, including property and finance (SDG 1.4)
  • Empowerment of women (SDG 5a and 5b)
  • Ending preventable deaths of newborns (SDG 3.2)
  • Improving energy efficiency and eliminating harmful energy subsidies (SDG 12c)
  • Reducing remittance costs (SDG 10c)
  • Reducing corruption (SDG 16.5) and fighting crime and terrorism (SDG 16a)

Privacy is a Concern

IMG_20160728_131751533_HDRExperts believe that blockchain-based technology offers the solution to this massive problem. In effect, at the Blockchains + Digital Currencies conference held on July 28, 2016, in New York, one of the main sessions was “Using Blockchain to Create One Accurate Identity.”

At the conference, Susan Joseph, Director, ID2020, described how millions of people do not have an identity due to the lack of infrastructure in the developing world.

On the other hand, preserving the privacy of the individual is of utmost importance. Co-panelists also reminded the audience that many do not want to be identified or are skeptical of having an identification. For example, some refugees have been seen throwing their passports and ID cards into the sea.

The Most Secure Blockchain is Open to All

Bitcoin’s blockchain has inherent virtues, which allow it to protect individuals’ identity rights. For example, Blockchain can ensure individuals’ privacy by the use of private keys. This important virtue was stressed by the conference session’s panelists.

Bitcoin’s blockchain can provide identification not only to people but also to events, companies, accounts, and Internet of Thing devices, panelists observed.

That is why the permissionless, decentralized nature Bitcoin’s blockchain is critical.

chains 1021x580Accessibility and resistance to shut down are also important characteristics of the blockchain. These characteristics make it ideal for supporting personal identification data for all. Because the blockchain resides in thousands of nodes that are distributed all over the globe, the blockchain is protected from a single point of failure. If one node fails, all the other nodes continue operating.

Additionally, the blockchain offers irrevocability, transparency, and immutability (undetected modifications in the blockchain cannot occur).

Moreover, for privacy purposes, in the Bitcoin and blockchain system, documents, including personal identification data can be cryptographically expressed.

Providing secure, legal identification for all is a colossal challenge. However, the U.N. could succeed by using blockchain technology. Indeed, companies such as Bloq Inc., are already offering blockchain-based technology to provide solutions for identification, as well as for trading, supply chain, security, transparency, and auditing.

In other words, the Bitcoin blockchain technology is ready and available to help the U.N. rise to this challenge.

Do you think Bitcoin’s blockchain technology can help in providing an ID to all while preserving privacy? Let us know in the comments below!

Tags in this story
Bitcoin, Blockchain, Identity, united nations

Images courtesy of Pixabay, Wikimedia, shutterstock

Julio Gil-Pulgar

Julio has worked for Fortune 100 companies and the United Nations. He has led projects involving IT, operational, and compliance audits, in the U.S. and throughout the world. His expertise is in IT engineering, risk management, and security. He is a Bitcoin enthusiast.

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