Microsoft and Accenture have unveiled a new, digital ID network that will provide legal documentation for more than 1 billion undocumented people around the world by 2020. The network, which uses blockchain technology, will help individuals such as refugees to display their identities when needing to access services like education and healthcare.
"Without an identity you can't access education, financial services, healthcare, you name it. You are disenfranchised and marginalized from society," David Treat, managing director at Accenture, said in an interview on Monday.
The companies showcased a prototype of the network at the UN headquarters in New York during the second summit of ID2020, which is an event promoting the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goal of providing legal identity for everyone on the planet.
"Approximately one-sixth of the world's population cannot participate in cultural, political, economic, and social life because they lack the most basic information: Documented proof of their existence," Accenture said in a statement released to the public. "Establishing identity is critical to accessing a wide range of activities, including education, healthcare, voting, banking, mobile communications, housing, and family and childcare benefits."
How will this all work? The ID network will connect existing record-keeping systems through blockchain, allowing users to access to their personal information wherever they are. Blockchain is the underlying technology that originated in the form of a public ledger to keep a track of all cryptocurrency transactions.
It works as an electronic transaction-processing and record-keeping system. This allows various participants that are connected to the network, usually public, to track information through a secure network, thereby eliminating the need for any kind of third-party verification.
It will allow systems of different organizations to communicate with each other. But the system is only the person who owns the identity can grant access to it and personally information cannot be shared by third parties. The companies have built the network on top of an existing Accenture platform, which powers the biometric identity management system used by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
The blockchain technology market is expected to grow rapidly owing to numerous benefits that it provides, such as eradication of the requirement of a financial institution to validate transactions, reduce duplicative recordkeeping, eliminate reconciliation, minimize error rates, and facilitate faster settlement. The latest research reports forecast the market to be worth USD 7.74 billion by 2024.
Microsoft and Accenture were among the more than two dozen entities that formed the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) in February this year. The EEA was set up to enhance the privacy, security and scalability of the Ethereum blockchain.
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