EU Seeks Blockchain Identities for Refugees

Blockchain, Crime, Group, News | September 1, 2017 By:

The European Parliament’s blockchain task force wants to explore how distributed ledger technology (DLT) could be used to provide digital identities to refugees.

An amendment to the European Union’s 2018 budget details a pilot project of the Horizontal Task Force on Distributed Ledger Technology. In the amendment, Jakob von Weizsäcker, the member of the European Parliament who first proposed the task force, spells out the need to incorporate new technologies to aid refugee identification efforts.

The amendment notes that refugees may be excluded from the existing banking system due to a lack of documentation. In addition, lack of identification may restrict access to other vital social services, like healthcare, legal protection, and educational resources for children. Due to the “distributed and resilient architecture” of DLT, the 2018 budget amendment directs the project to explore the use of DLT to resolve this issue: “The pilot project should assess and benchmark best approaches in using DLT based solutions for control of frontiers and to manage the situation of refugees.”

The document states that EU governments in partnerships with other countries and organisations need innovative solutions to manage increasing flows of migrants and their temporary stay in different countries. DLT applications could lend themselves to such applications on account of their distributed and resilient architecture.”

The document also outlines that, of the more than €850,000 allocated for the project in the 2017 budget, €425,000 has been spent thus far.

Identity management is one of the key areas where blockchain potential is being explored. In June, the United Nations released plans to use ethereum to distribute aid to refugees in crisis-hit Syria. More than 10,000 refugees were involved in that initiative.