Blockchain-Based ID System Unveiled For Refugees By Accenture And Microsoft

Microsoft and Accenture have partnered to develop a digital identification network that employs blockchain technology. This is part of project supported by the United Nations with a view to offering legal identity to more than one billion people in the world who lack official documents.

A prototype of the digital identification network was unveiled at the headquarters of the United Nations on Monday. This was during the ID2020 second summit which seeks to promote the Sustainable Development Goal of offering legal identity to all human beings in all parts of the world.

Access to services

Through the project disadvantaged segments of the global population such as refugees will have proof of identity which will enable them access such basic services as healthcare and education.

“Without an identity you can’t access education, financial services, healthcare, you name it. You are disenfranchised and marginalized from society. Having a digital identity is a basic human right,” said the financial services practice managing director at Accenture, David Treat.

Public ledger system

While it was initially created to serve as a record for every transaction carried out using the bitcoin virtual currency, the blockchain public ledger system is now being utilized in the secure tracking of data in other sectors outside the digital currency. As a public-ledger system, it is tamper-proof and once a particular number of computers have confirmed certain information, say biometric date or a financial transaction, that fact is entered permanently on the chain.

According to Microsoft’s global business strategist, Yorke Rhodes, one of blockchain’s advantages is that different organizations’ systems are able to communicate through it.

Proof of identity

With the new platform, the record keeping systems of public and commercial entities that already exist will be connected via blockchain and this will allow users to get access to personal data in whatever location in the world they may be in. For instance, displaced persons who have left their country of birth and left behind their documents such as educational certificates or birth certificates will be in a position to offer proof of identity via the system.

The prototype which was launched in New York was created atop an existing platform that belongs to Accenture and which currently is used in powering the system of biometric identity management system of the UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In the project the main contribution of Microsoft was to supply computing infrastructure which was provided via the Azure cloud service.