Tech

Paul How

Deloitte developing blockchain-powered gov’t ID system

Accounting firm Deloitte is collaborating with identity management company Attest Inc. to come up with a blockchain-based identification system for government clients.

The project is intended to provide digital identification solutions to help eliminate problems currently faced by governments, according to the company’s press statement.

Deloitte Consulting LLP Managing Director Wendy Henry said, “In the blockchain pilots we’ve run with our government clients, digital identity can be a thorny issue. While many companies are looking at using a personal wallet in which the individual has control of their digital identity credential, government must serve the whole of citizens, including those who may not be able to accept the control of their identity credential in a digital form.”

She added that working with Attest will allow governments to offer citizens identity solutions “that better accommodate the needs government has across that wide expanse of abilities.”

Attest co-founder and CEO Cab Morris said the venture will allow Deloitte to provide governments with decentralized identifiers and verifiable credentials using blockchain technology. “Identity is foundational to nearly every government service and is the basis for trust and legitimacy in the public sector,” he said, adding that the government-issued digital identities will reduce costs and risks for businesses, while providing greater security and privacy to citizens.

Attest offers two digital identity products, Attest Wallet for individuals, and Attest Enterprise, used by governments and businesses.

In Deloitte’s paper ‘Assessing blockchain applications for the public sector’ published last September, it mentioned that governments were faced with having to represent identities digitally. “The lack of a unified, federated identity… hinders… agencies from seamlessly entering a blockchain consortium. To realize the full benefits of blockchain, they should understand and address the risks of federated digital identities… and explore approaches to unification.”

In another paper, ‘New tech on the block’ from last May, the ‘Big Four’ firm said that blockchain’s capabilities in many areas will make it “thrive in the next ten years.”

Last year, Deloitte joined the Hyperledger consortium that is developing an open-source framework for the technology. It also became a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.

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