Blockchain technology helps Syrian refugees regain lost legal identities

Author: Russ Juskalian, MIT Technology Review, Published on: 15 April 2018

"Inside the Jordan refugee camp that runs on blockchain", 12 April 2018

... In Finland, a blockchain startup called MONI has collaborated since 2015 with the Finnish Immigration Service, giving every refugee in the country a prepaid MasterCard—backed by a digital identity number stored on a blockchain. Even without the passport necessary to open a Finnish bank account, a MONI account lets refugees receive benefits directly from the government. The system also allows refugees to get loans from people who know and trust them, helping them build rudimentary credit histories that could make it possible to get institutional loans down the road. Meanwhile, companies like Accenture and Microsoft are joining nonprofit organizations in a public-private alliance called ID2020. The mission is to help achieve the UN goal of providing a legal identity to everyone, starting with the 1.1 billion people who lack any officially recognized proof of their existence... Blockchains... are critical to such identity systems because they solve previously “unsolvable” problems. By storing an encrypted identifier in a blockchain, one can separate the authentication system from one’s data, helping to protect privacy. Blockchain systems are also more secure than conventional identity records because they cut out third-party intermediaries. They can be easier to use, and they can survive disasters that might wipe out more centralized record-keeping systems... 

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