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Buenos Aires launches blockchain-based digital ID system

The city of Buenos Aires has revealed plans to launch a digital ID system for residents leveraging blockchain, focusing on privacy and controls.

Described as a “citizen-owned digital identity” system, Buenos Aires officials say citizens will be able to use blockchain to claim their identification documents via digital wallets. Marriage and birth certificates will be the first copies available on-chain, with academic verification and proof of income documents joining the batch.

In the coming months, city officials say health data and payment details will be available for residents. Buenos Aires will rely on QuarkID, an open-source digital identity system run by blockchain firm Exriman, to build the project’s infrastructure.

The digital ID project will leverage the zkSync Era rollup for scalability, transparency, and privacy, allowing a party to prove that a statement is true without revealing details concerning the information.

Officials describe the wallet as “self-sovereign,” allowing the city’s 15 million residents to exercise greater control over their personal data.

“With this development, Buenos Aires becomes the first city in Latin America, and one of the first in the world, to integrate and promote this new technology and set the standard for how other countries in the region should use blockchain technology for the benefit of their people,” remarked Diego Fernandez, Secretary of Innovation of the Buenos Aires City Government.

Reports claimed that the project will be reaching other Argentinian cities in the coming months, with city officials hinting at the release of a blueprint for expansion. CEO of Extrimian, Guillermo Villanueva, believes that the project’s success could see it expand to other countries in Latin America, providing digital IDs for up to 650 million people.

“This is a monumental step towards a safer and more efficient future for government services in Latin America,” Villanueva remarked. “QuarkID creates a closer relationship between a government and its citizens while also bringing digital identity practices and security standards to Latin America.”

Worldcoin raises significant concerns

The decision of Buenos Aires to dabble in digital IDs may be linked to the concerns surrounding the iris-scanning Worldcoin. Argentinian authorities have opened a probe on Worldcoin after the project raked in thousands of users within weeks of its launch, seemingly lured by the prospects of obtaining digital currencies.

GermanyFrance, and the U.K. have launched similar investigations against Worldcoin, with Kenyan authorities temporarily detaining the project’s CEO, Alex Blania. However, Worldcoin maintains that its internal operations comply with global privacy standards, denying wrongdoing.

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