05.23.2016
By Rob Daly

Blockchain for IDs?

Non-governmental organization ID2020 and the United Nation’s Department of Partnerships has set an ambitious goal of providing identities to the estimated 1.5 billion people without access to proof of legal identity.

The organizations brought together representatives of 120 companies and a number of other NGOs conference co-convened in the UN’s Trusteeship Council Chamber to ask the tough question: “How do we do it?”

Several panelists and conference participants brought up the distributed-ledger technology blockchain, which is currently one of the hottest buzzwords on Wall Street, as a possible solution. For his part, ID2020 CEO John Edge demurred.

“ID2020 isn’t a platform or product,” he said. “It’s a hub to bring together people to discuss emerging technology that can address a portion of [The UN’s] Sustainable development Goal 16.”

The specific goal is to provide legal identities and birth registration for everyone on the planet by 2030.

If ID2020 determines that UN could achieve the goal via partnership with companies and NGOs in the next few years, it will change its name, according to Edge. “We’ll call it ID2020.”

Edge want to make sure that there is no barrier to entry for those who want participate in the emerging-technology discussion. “The discussion need to be accessible to everyone,” he said.

Edge would like to see corporates participate in the discussion.

“If you look at all the innovation labs in private industry, not one focuses on the issue of identity,” he said. “However, there is one person in each one of the labs that specializes in identity issues.”

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