World Identity Network plans to link blockchain with identity

04/08/17

A global identity initiative launched last week is planning to link identity with blockchain technology.

The World Identity Network says it aims to leverage distributed ledger technology, better known as blockchain, to catalyze progress toward universal identification

The group, launched on Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island on 28 July, says its key objective is to catalyze progress towards universal ID and robust, secure, digital identification systems using 21st century technology solutions, such as the distributed ledger technology (DLT).

“The use cases of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are diverse, with stronger value-add in developing countries,” Mariana Dahan, a former World Bank official and driving force behind the Identification for Development agenda who will lead the World Identity Network initiative, told Devex. “Blockchain’s disintermediating potential is being tried out for land property titles, finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, e-governance, voting, and the big one, digital identity. Much of this has the potential to leapfrog billions of people into a new era — in parallel to the way that mobile phones helped them leapfrog over landlines.”

Dahan explained to Devex that while currency changes are the most widely known use case for blockchain technology, the topics discussed at the blockchain summit extended to global development.

Blockchain is an unchangeable system of recordkeeping that is seeing a growing use well beyond financial transactions. Data is copied on multiple servers or computers and encrypted into blocks, which are then linked by hashes to previous blocks. This allows the system to reject any non-valid transactions. On a public blockchain, the data that is stored can be seen and verified by all parties, and because they know the data is unchangeable and verified by the system, they can transact directly and securely with a trusted system, replacing third-party intermediaries without the parties needing to trust each other.

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