One ledger that is available for everyone. A single source of information and identity. For all the pain points of visa and immigration where countries can share multiple databases to verify information, which takes a specific amount of time, blockchain can actually be the singular source of identity verification. In fact, Accenture and Microsoft teamed up in 2017 to build a prototype of a Digital ID network using blockchain technology, as part of a U.N.-supported project to provide legal identification to 1.1 billion people worldwide with no official documents. There has never been a more critical time than today to have an identity on file.
People always have, and will continue to move from one country to another in search of a better life, better opportunities and security. The numbers are pretty astounding when you look at the numbers. 2 million non-EU citizens immigrated to the EU in 2016. Foreign citizens made up 7.5% of persons living in the EU Member States as of 1 January 2017. EU Member States granted citizenship to almost 1 million people in 2016. But why not apply the public ledger to every individual on the planet and use it for a global citizenship that makes everything from global trade to visa issuance a lot simpler?
Preparing for Blockchain
The United Nations has been testing blockchain-driven use-cases to manage food distribution through crises. The largest largest-ever implementations of the Ethereum blockchain for a charitable cause in recent history. In May 2017, the U.N.’s World Food Programme (WFP) directed resources to thousands of Syrian refugees by giving the refugees cryptocurrency-based vouchers that could be redeemed in participating markets.
The United Nations has already held a number of public events discussing the role of blockchain in immigration, of having a singular, binding pure source of identity and went so far ahead as setting up a ‘High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation,’ in July 2018. They already have an MoU with IOTA, the blockchain platform, to explore how the technology could increase efficiency but there is a long way to go.
Solutions for Problems
The images of mass exodus landing on the shores of countless countries, are some of the most disturbing documentation of human survival. Feeling from war-struck zones towards safety through asylum and prayer, loss of legal documents is common. The language barrier, lack of historical data to cross-check health status, financial worth, work experience, criminal records, educational equivalencies are useless without a verified source. In fact, a Norwegian Refugee Council research found, 70 percent of Syrian refugees lack basic identification and documents showing ownership of property. If there was a decentralized, undisputed record at the source, the issuance of asylum would be a lot accurate, safer and less burdensome than the chaos it is presently.
There is a dire need for a global, singular identity. An undisputed, verified source that is available for access to cross-reference the historical data of any citizen of any country. All the information that is posted to the blockchain, is shared and singular in nature, not just for past verification, but also tracing the movement of refugees and travelers across the globe. The information in terms of trends that such data can provide critical insights to everything from movement, behavior and security.