On April 13, 2020, the COVID Credentials initiative (CCI) unveiled a plan to use digital identity to address the spread of COVID-19. The initiative is bringing in Blockchain self-sovereign identity (SSI) technologists from over 60 firms to develop COVID-19 immunity passports that don’t compromise the users’ privacy.
The group includes individuals who are part of Evernym, ID2020, Sovrin, Dutch research organization TNO, Microsoft, Transmute, ConsenSys Health and consultants Luxoft. So far, at least 69 have signed up.
The key to SSI is that it empowers privacy. Access to the data is only available to the individual and the organization that provides a credential – perhaps a hospital that tested you. As an individual, you can then choose with whom to share that data.
Sovrin co-chair Drummond Reed commented about the new credentials initiative project:
“We’re doing something here that can save lives. That can help ideally with the global economic recovery from what may be the deepest economic trough we hit in our lifetime.”
ArcBlock Offers Decentralized Identity Solutions To CCI
ArcBlock, a platform dedicated to building decentralized applications, has also joined the CCI project to use verifiable credentials and decentralized identity in a way that enables users to share trustworthy data with others securely and privately.
In fact, ArcBlock’s platform was opened for project members starting on April 14 to help individuals access decentralized identity solutions to share information with anyone in a way that protects their privacy.
There’s an agreement in the tech world that some sort of digital certificates should exist. Bill Gates recently commented that “eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered or been tested recently.”
Folks everywhere are very concerned about personal liberty as a result of the proposed digital certificates, but with SSI, it can be privacy-preserving. Technically, the digital certificates created by the CCI would have to be issued by health care institutions.
However, they would be controlled and shared by users in a peer-to-peer (P2P) manner over an immutable Blockchain to ensure data privacy.
Coronavirus Has Increased Blockchain Use Cases Worldwide
There have been a slew of COVID-19 solutions purporting to use Blockchain to protect people from the deadly virus.
For instance, Villanova University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is leading the development of a permissioned blockchain for doctors to trace positive COVID-19 cases, possibly getting ahead of future outbreaks.
In Berlin, Blockchain startup Spherity has developed a decentralized identity database that enables patients to keep their social distance while getting treatment.
Similarly, blockchain enterprise IntellectEU just last week launched a project dubbed SpreadLoveNotCorona to collect and track contributions for the UN Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
These measures may be effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19, enabling economies to open and people who are not affected to resume their daily lives.