Illinois Blockchain Initiative Creates Birth Registration Pilot

Announcements, Blockchain | September 1, 2017 By:

The Illinois Blockchain Initiative has teamed with blockchain identity startup Evernym to digitize the birth registration process using blockchain technology.

The Illinois Blockchain Initiative was formed by a consortium of Illinois state and county agencies in November, 2016. The initiative’s mission is to explore how innovations presented by blockchains and distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be leveraged to create more efficient, integrated, and trusted state services, while providing a welcoming environment for the blockchain community.

For this project, they will leverage distributed ledger technology to provide secure digital identity solutions. The concept will augment work from the W3C’s Verifiable Claims Task Force and use the Sovrin Foundation’s distributed identity ledger to create a secure, “self-sovereign” identity for Illinois citizens during the birth registration process.

In the proposed framework, government agencies will verify birth registration information. They would then create “verifiable claims” or attributes by cryptographically signing identity attributes such as legal name, date of birth, sex or blood type. A tamper-proof distributed ledger protocol in the form of a decentralized identifier would store the permission to view or share these claims, ensuring that each attribute is cryptographically sealed and only accessible with the explicit consent of the identity holder or a legal guardian in the case of a newborn child.

“To structurally address the many issues surrounding digital identity, we felt it was important to develop a framework that examines identity from its inception at child birth,” said Illinois Blockchain Initiative Blockchain Business Liaison Jennifer O’Rourke. “Government has an important role to play in the development of any digital identity ecosystem. Identity is not only foundational to nearly every government service, but is the basis for trust and legitimacy in the public sector.”

“The successful transition to an identity ecosystem that is truly self-sovereign requires conversion of ‘breeder documents’, such as birth certificates, which serve as the basis for obtaining other documents,” said Evernym’s Drummond Reed. “Digitizing these foundational documents in a state the size and importance of Illinois will make a major contribution to the larger effort of solving the online identity problem.”