Ben Ibarra Fernandez

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Ben Ibarra Fernandez talks securing personal information with blockchain

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The Philippines has been working toward a national digital identity system, and according to one central bank official, blockchain is the technology to underpin this system.

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Ben Ibarra Fernandez was at a workshop organized by enterprise blockchain solutions provider nChain. In an interview with CoinGeek Backstage, he talked about how blockchain offers superior solutions to existing technology in digital identity management.

“I’ve learned a lot. It’s the first time I’m joining a blockchain training, and it’s very interesting how we can use it to improve processes in the government for the BSP and other regulators,” he told CoinGeek Backstage reporter Claire Celdran.

Fernandez works in the IT Strategy and Governance department at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). He’s also a member of the Philippines’ digital identity drive. In this role, he has become aware of the challenges and concerns that have plagued digital identity drives, he says.

“Now it makes more sense for us to use blockchain-based identity,” he noted.

He added that blockchain has advanced ways of securing the users’ personally identifiable information and provides greater security. However, he noted some concerns still remain, like how to reach Filipinos who aren’t tech-savvy.

Fernandez was impressed at the quality of the speakers at the workshop, stating that they did an excellent job “laymanizing the technology for us.” Coming from a programming background, he expressed his desire for more technical sessions but acknowledged that most of his colleagues are interested in understanding the basics.

“Perhaps BSP and nChain can work together in regard to hands-on training,” he stated.

Fernandez believes there are many ways a nChain-BSP partnership can benefit the central bank, with the London firm’s expertise in blockchain potentially helping the bank improve its services and processes.

The Philippines is one of the world’s leading blockchain hubs, with the government under President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. pledging to leverage the technology to build a digital future.

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