Posted 10 months ago | by @devadmin

While addressing an online launch event for the Global Digital Asset and Cryptocurrency Association, U.S. Representative Bill Foster explained the importance of a “secure digital identity.”

“You can have the most rock-solid cryptographic guarantees of a blockchain or equivalent and it doesn’t do you any good if people are fraudulently participating on it under anonymous names,” Foster stated during his speech. Foster referenced trading under pseudonymous names as an example, noting some people conduct illegal trading activities using fake names, CoinTelegraph reported.

Foster a Harvard graduate and blockchain programmer himself, sits on the board of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus which is tasked with working on regulation of the industry.

Foster further expressed the importance of third-party anonymity, which essentially involves a public-facing anonymous identity, with the caveat that pertinent details behind such an identity can be revealed as necessary when brought to a court.

“This, I think, is a fundamental requirement, I believe, of digital contracts or almost all of the use cases that are talked about for this,” he said. The transition begins by offering people a trackable method for uniquely and securely identifying themselves, Foster explained. Adding that the “blockchain and tech space already holds the elements necessary for putting such a system together.”

He added:

“The missing point, and the essential government role, is that once in your life, when you go in to get your real ID card or your passport or something, that you have to be authenticated as a legally traceable unique person, and then you have to be biometrically deduped to make sure that you’re not getting another passport in another country under another identity.”

This type of system needs international collaboration Foster goes on to explain. “This requires a group of countries to get together to set up this trusted ID ecosystem, and this is where we have to go,” Foster said. A framework would subsequently lead to other future potential use cases like tracking citizens by governments.

There are a number of digital identity systems being developed using blockchain or already live.

One digital Identity system built on Hyperledger is already in the works by Microsoft, IBM and the World Health Organization called, MiPasa, the project will collect and verify data related to the coronavirus to track its spread, Decrypt reported.

Another system built by Microsoft is based on the Bitcoin blockchain and is said to be a decentralized identity tool called ION. Separately, Microsoft is also collaborating with Bitcoin startup Casa to create a user-friendly interface for managing multiple digital identities.  In fact, dozens of blockchain startups joined forces to start creating an “immunity passport” approved by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Verifiable Credentials, Coindesk reported. Over 50 firms are involved in developing blockchain-based self-sovereign identity (SSI) tools and collaborating on the “immunity passport” project.

However, perhaps the most dangerous and frightening is a project titled ID2020 Alliance, because it ties it all together. ID2020 once a project to give digital ID for good, became a tool for Immunity Passports. Which is why, Elizabeth Renieris quit noting in her resignation letter that “techno-solutionism” and corporate influence along with the risks of applying blockchain to immunity passes changed the group’s vision.

“At this stage, I can no longer even describe what ID2020’s mission is with any confidence,” wrote Renieris, who was one of six members of ID2020’s technical advisory committee. “All I can perceive is a desire to promote decentralized identity solutions at all costs.”

A white paper written by ID2020 Executive Director Dakota Gruener and published in April acknowledges privacy and other risks associated with immunity certificates but argues there is a way to implement them consistent with the organization’s principles for digital ID.

In late April, the World Health Organization warned against the idea of immunity passports, and said there was “no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”

Even more shocking is the organization ID2020 has existed since 2016, advocating for “ethical, privacy-protecting approaches to digital ID,” according to its website. Blockchain is a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil, and yes many people are getting rich on some of these projects. But there is one ethical question we must ask all ourselves. Are we being tricked into our own demise, and the original fundamentals of Bitcoin being circumvented to build an Orwellian society, while we are all distracted with the notion of getting rich?