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Blockchain Digital Identity Alliance ID2020 launches pilots

The ID2020 Alliance held its first annual summit yesterday. The Alliance unveiled the initial pilot projects and welcomed new alliance members, iRespond, Kiva, Simprints, FHI360, and

The topics discussed were what makes a ‘good’ digital identity, and the technical and non-technical requirements for scalability and privacy.

“The conversation this year shifted from the potential to the practical,” Dakota Gruener, Executive Director of ID2020, commented, “We are thrilled to be expanding and strengthening the Alliance’s partnerships with innovative organizations – both with new Alliance members and through our pilot programs – as we focus on developing and testing ethical digital identity solutions.”

Alliance partner iRespond presented one of the ID2020 projects yesterday. They are working closely with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to develop a blockchain-based iris recognition service. This can identify refugees accessing IRC services at the Mae La Camp in Thailand.

With these digital IDs, refugees could more reliably access better healthcare through a secure and accurate electronic medical record. In the future, the same service could store employment and education records. Hence there’s the potential to help refugees with employment opportunities.

Darren Hertz, Country Director, IRC Thailand is excited by the project: “The IRC Thailand really appreciates the opportunity to partner with ID2020 and iRespond on this innovative project. We’re keenly aware of and awaiting the improvements this will create in the quality of health care services we provide to refugee populations.”

He continued: “But equally exciting is the means by which individual medical records, diplomas, and certificates can be confidential, safe and accessible for displaced populations caught in a world of uncertainty. We believe this offers real opportunity for better futures.”

“We are excited by the possibility for this project to provide access to improved healthcare and livelihoods for vulnerable individuals,” added Larry Dohrs, Vice President, Asia-Pacific, iRespond.

Another project on display was a low cost and blockchain-based Liquid Propane Gas transfer service. Everest is taking the lead here, but they are also working with The Indonesian National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (TNP2K).

The entire summit was sponsored by the UN Office of Information Communications Technology (OICT), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Danish Mission to the United Nations.