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EU envisions digital identity as primary use for government blockchains

Blockchain promised us freedom and liberation from centralized authorities like governments, however within the newest report from the EU Blockchain Forum (EUBF), the know-how is beginning to sound extra like 1984 than ever earlier than.

The EUBF’s latest report particulars that for blockchain to comprehend its potential inside government establishments, they have to concentrate on utilizing the know-how to construct two issues: digital identity programs, and digital variations of their nationwide currencies.

“Digital identity is the fundamental building block and a key area for governments to focus on,” the report reads. “Another necessary constructing block … is having digital variations of nationwide currencies on the blockchain, for instance by blockchain-based central financial institution digital currencies (CBDCs).

Government managed digital identities

According to the report, digital identities needs to be a prerequisite earlier than any future institutional blockchains are developed. The EUBF believes blockchain might present a platform on which everybody has a “trusted” state-owned digital identity.

The EUBF furthers its argument for state-owned blockchains by implying that the government could be a greater custodian of our on-line identities than centralized our bodies like Google or Facebook, as a result of knowledge breaches and hacks that they’ve witnessed. So take your decide, who would you need as the custodian of your digital identity, the government or Facebook?

While the report does state that the blockchain identity programs needs to be “user-controlled” and “self-sovereign,” it doesn’t change the very fact your complete identity could be half a government system that could possibly be used to trace your each transfer on-line.

Indeed, simply because a person has management over their knowledge it doesn’t stop the government, from monitoring knowledge requests and utilizing that to surveil residents. If the blockchain have been public, anybody might view this info.

It additionally doesn’t make it resistant to phishing, hacking, scams, fraud, or theft. The blockchain is often seen as a panacea for a swathe of recent issues, but it surely’s not all the time probably the most perfect resolution.

Tokenized fiat currencies

If government owned digital identities exist alongside aspect government-backed tokenized fiat currencies, it could be very simple to attribute spending habits to a person identity.

Furthermore, state-owned digital currencies would doubtlessly be topic to the identical manipulation as standard fiat. Unlike Bitcoin, a state might in precept, simply create extra of it. It goes towards your complete level of the know-how.

Of course, that is largely conjecture as the EUBF’s report is little greater than a group of suggestions for EU governments. It doesn’t essentially replicate the views of the EU fee. But the suggestions are stark; there clearly must be a deep and detailed dialogue about how programs of this nature needs to be applied.

The blockchain large brother

Any time government begins speaking about blockchain for digital identity it begins to sound extra 1984 than the libertarian utopia that Bitcoin and blockchain initially promised.

It all sounds eerily just like David Chaum’s 1985 paper, “Security without identification” during which he predicted the “dossier society.” This state of society is reached as a results of the continuous importing and sharing of non-public knowledge on-line. Eventually, it permits all corners of our lives to be related successfully ridding us of any anonymity or digital self-sovereignty.

Indeed, earlier this 12 months the UK government talked of how it could use blockchain to offer a chronological file that permits for the reconstruction and examination of a sequence of occasions, that result in a selected occasion. Depending on the way it’s applied, a government-owned could possibly be the start of a digital large brother.

Published December 7, 2018 — 13:49 UTC

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