Canada to use blockchain for digital identification

Canadians will soon be able to verify personal information for everything from a driver’s licence to a loan application using mobile phones and blockchain

In the first half of 2018, consumers in Canada will be able to sign up for a new digital-identity system developed by Toronto-based identity and authentication provider SecureKey Technologies Inc.

The system is underpinned by IBM Corp.’s blockchain technology, and according to Greg Wolfond, CEO of SecureKey, consumers will be able to instantly prove who they are to banks, telecom providers and governments through apps on their phones and Windows devices. Using blockchain technology, the software will privately share details without going through a central system. This will avoid creating “honeypots” of data that could tempt hackers, says Wolfond.

Canada’s six-largest lenders, including Toronto-Dominion Bank and Royal Bank of Canada, invested C$30 million ($24 million) in the project. The country’s three main wireless carriers owned by Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corp. and BCE Inc. are also involved through their EnStream venture, along with a number of provincial governments.

“Canada has a competitive advantage in a commercial roll-out because of its concentrated banking system, participation from telecommunications firms and provincial governments” said Wolfond. “The firm is already in discussions on setting up the “Canada model” in other jurisdictions.”

Canada is not alone in their move to digital identification. In Japan, the country’s three largest banks and its financial regulator are testing a blockchain identity platform to share consumer information.

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