Bahamas, the hub of tranquil resorts and the house of more than 700 islands has previously been known for the ostentatious hospitality it offers to its guests and tourists from all over the world. Apparently, the archipelago developed an interest in development and deployment of blockchain and has now become essentially the first country in the Latin America to have implemented a blockchain based national credentialing system. However, Bahamas Blockcerts is the very first of many to come. The DLT in this project is being utilized in order to create, issue, view and verify national certificates. Potentially this platform could make it impossible for people to produce fake documents.
The Bahama Blockcerts are certificates awarded by multiple agencies to those who have accomplished some kind of task or completed a course and are stored on a blockchain. The inter-American Development Bank had a major role to play in the development of this blockchain platform. Earlier in April this year, a generous grant was provided to fund the creation of the prototype, whose underlying framework was developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The development time that comprised of three months only, allowed NTA to setup the Bahamas’ governments brand new Blockcert platform. On June 28, 2018, Bahamas blockcert was released.
A group of 78 participants were the lucky graduates from the workforce preparatory program, who were the first ones to whom the first Bahamas Blockcert was issued. The records of those participants holding the certificate of training in soft skills and workplace dynamics, issued by The Bahamas National Training agency, were stored on the Distributed Ledger for all to view and verify.
The record of these digitized qualifications are stored in a portfolio and can be viewed by using a free mobile application. As of now, only NTA participants have been privileged enough to get access to these digitized portfolios. Being digitized, the portfolios have ascended from existing on a piece of paper to being listed on blockchain. The users can now just add URLs on their portfolios that uniquely identify a certificate of achievement, without going through the hassle of carrying around a bunch of documents all over in search of a job.
A number of representatives from Bahamas have stressed the importance of blockchain and employing it to work towards a truly digitally revolutionized future. Along with that, many have stressed how this would boost the economic growth of the country. Unquestionably, blockchain holds value and importance as it can bring about many changes like promoting security to reducing fraudulent activities. Michael Nelson, the acting country representative for the IDB Group in The Bahamas, said,
A key message here is that the government of The Bahamas has begun taking strong steps to alleviate legacy bureaucratic challenges faced by its citizens, by incorporating innovative frontier technologies such as blockchain-based technology. In doing so, The Bahamas is setting the stage to increase its competitiveness, productivity and economic growth trajectory.
Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labor also shared a few words,
The potential for this technology is truly transformative. We piloted the initiative with the NTA, but the vision is to have Bahamas Blockcerts form a core part of the government’s National Blockchain Strategy. We are talking about using the technology for citizen security, to improve the land registry and a host of other initiatives. Based on the plan, we will upgrade the government’s digital infrastructure and put the systems in place to bring our vision of a digital government, a digital Bahamas, to life. This is not likely to happen in its entirety within the next year, maybe not even the next two years, but we have started already and The Bahamas is already at the vanguard. We are leading this effort in the region, and the NTA pilot is the perfect proof of concept. It demonstrates how the government can scale the implementation of the blockcert component across other institutions.
The Ministry of Labor was initially in charge of implementing the prototype of the project. Moving forward, The Ministry of Finance will take charge as they try to incorporate the Blockcert project with the government’s “ease of doing business initiatives.” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest, said,
The technology to bring these ideas to life is ready to go. We simply need a plan in place that clearly outlines our desired economic and social outcomes and all of the steps along the road. For the Bahamas Blockcerts component we have a road map, but we will expand on that as part of the National Blockchain Strategy.
Ever since the advent of blockchain, innumerable applications of the groundbreaking technology have been turning up. This digitized portfolio can help ensure, that the record of the qualification of people of Bahamas are well maintained and only a few clicks away if needed to be accessed. For now, NTA is the only agency that is able to issue a blockcert. However, 23 national agencies can be incorporated using this blockchain. Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) the University of The Bahamas (UB) and the National Insurance Board (NIB) could be the next ones to be brought unto this platform.