Blockchain is not all about business and cryptocurrencies, it can be used to resolve the most pressing issues of today. The ID2020 Alliance is a public-private partnership which is working on the world-wide problem of creating the digital identification network. This highly innovative project has just added Microsoft, Mercy Corps, Hyperledger and the UN International Computing Center to the list of its partners.
The rise in amount of refugees who are forced to leave their native countries, women and children who fled from their homes leads to the acute problem of proving the identity. The scale of the problem is extremely huge. World Bank shared some tragic statistics: over 1.1 billion people are incapable of providing their proof of identity. That is about 15% of the world population. These people may lose their basic rights and opportunities, become vulnerable and are at risk to be trafficked.
The ID2020 Alliance is a partnership which brings together companies, organizations and governmental entities to build the digital identification network. This organization was created due to the initial grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, Accenture with a 1$ million investment turned out to be the second major sponsor. On January 22 Microsoft announced the joining to the partnership and a donation of $1 million to the ID2020 Alliance. Mercy Corps, Hyperledger and the UN International Computing Center also became a part of the Alliance.
The Executive Vice President of Microsoft Peggy Johnson wrote on the official blog page of the company: “In the coming months, Microsoft, our partners in the ID2020 Alliance, and developers around the globe will collaborate on an open source, self-sovereign, blockchain-based identity system that allows people, products, apps and services to interoperate across blockchains, cloud providers and organizations.”
The ID2020 Alliance established a Technical Advisory Committee to monitor and evaluate the technologies that may potentially be used in building a digital identification network. However, the blockchain technology would definitely play a big role in the project.
The digital identity is supposed to complement with the existing identity management systems including the ones recognized by law. No doubt that system demands the outstanding level of privacy and protection. Other requirements to the system include the unhindered authentication process, ample opportunity for integration and usage in different organizations and institutions. The first blockchain-based prototype was demonstrated at the ID2020 Summit last summer. That digital identity solution is a creation of Accenture and Microsoft partnership.
David Treat, managing director and co-head of the global blockchain practice at Accenture, said: “In both developed and developing countries, we are living more of our lives online. Decentralized, user-controlled digital identity holds the potential to unlock economic opportunity for refugees and others who are disadvantaged, while concurrently improving the lives of those simply trying to navigate cyberspace securely and privately.”
Blockchain may not be the only technology used to create digital identity system, but it will definitely contribute significantly to the development of the project. The ID2020 Alliance strengthened with the emergence of the new partners and massive donation from Microsoft – and this fact gives rise to hopes of building the digital identity system in the near future.