Lesson 7: Blockchain use case: Identity

Lesson Learning objectives : What problems can Blockchain solve in regards to Identity Management ? This lesson address this important topic in a simple and efficient way, to allow the participant understand how Blockchain can be applied to Identity Management for governments and healthcare


BlockChain & Identity Management 

Safeguarding data becomes alot easier when multiple participants have copies of the same database. In order for an attacker to alter or destroy any of the data they would have to take over the network. Something that is near impossible and costly to do on large blockchains. This is due to the multiple nodes that can check with each other what the correct information should be and expel any that does not match up.

Cyber-attacks have become more sophisticated in there approach, one of the side-effects of centralized systems that require user information for verification. This data, stored in a central location has lead to large scale data breeches and subsequent identity theft fraud occurring on their customers. A decentralized identity management ledger would allow customers to verify themselves on web services without having to share personal information. Acting as an online passport for traversing the internet.

Identity is increasingly important in the modern world, as without it a person can not own property, vote, receive government services or open a bank account. Being able to prove ones identity is a basic human right (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) . This is typically done with a physical artifact, birth records, and a central authority to oversee the issuing and validating of these records.

Governments like business networks are responsible for their citizens identities. Something which is costly, time consuming and inefficient. With the digital world bringing greater communication it has also lead to new threats and problems such as cyber-attacks and identity theft. Central databases of personal information are at risk and alternative solutions to the current legacy systems are required.

Estonia was the first country to implement a blockchain based identity management system. E-residents can be non-Estonians whom upon registering are able to use Estonian services such as forming a business, payment processing and taxation.

Public sector and governments have been actively exploring new technologies to enable the smart services transformation and to achieve strategic objectives such as citizens satisfaction and happiness, services efficiency and cost optimization.

Dubai Government is aiming to become paperless by adopting the Blockchain technology for all transactions by 2021.

“If you have a secure distributed ledger it could be used to store validated ‘know your customer’ data on individuals or companies,” says David Grace, global financial crime leader at PwC, the professional services firm. “It’s a potentially global application that could provide more security over identity data and where that data are stored.”

Blockchain technology also has the power to improve healthcare by providing a secure database allowing patients to safely access their medical records when they need it most. Ensuring privacy but recording all docters whom view the information, penalizing those whom access information without a cause.

In a similar way, a blockchain ledger can also be used for mediating drug intake and distribution, regulation compliance or managing healthcare supplies. For example, an individual patient could interact with a specific blockchain healthcare platform in order to easily view all of their claims, medical history, transactions, as well as overdue payments.

Such a database has never existed before and has the power to revolutionize everything from low-level food production all the way up to governance and voting. The powerful combination of security and immutability that blockchain provides means that unfair elections, voting fraud and a lack of integrity can be eliminated. Blockchain achieves all of this through a trace ability of information as a means of ensuring that nothing is unduly tampered with, dishonestly added or removed.

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