Germany has been a relatively silent supporter and advocate for blockchain based technologies for a while now but with 170 blockchain based startups at it’s helm and the nation’s keen interest to invest in the technology, it is no surprise that the country has decided to take things to the next level.
After a fairly successful study on blockchain’s potential to improve and benefit the country’s asylum procedures, a whitepaper was published on the 26th of March. The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAFM) has identified and published these findings in a whitepaper titled, ‘Supporting communication and cooperation in the asylum procedure with Blockchain technology.’
Along with the BAFM, the findings were co-authored by by the Project Group Business & Information Systems Engineering of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT
As per the paper,
“Blockchain could provide an important foundation for the establishment of digital identities and allow an asylum seeker’s procedure to be tracked based on this identity.”
The PoC which studied the role of blockchain in 2018 looked at two major aspects of the initiative, an attempt at improving the relationships between municipal and nation wide authorities and creating reliable and secure digital identities for those seeking asylum.
Perhaps the most important issue raised within the paper was the maintenance of privacy and the dignified way in which blockchain can aid the entire asylum procedure in a way that sensitive information remains safe.
“Blockchain allows decentralised structures to be retained so that sensitive data can remain in its source systems, while exclusively allowing metadata to be shared via the Blockchain.
The underlying system used, according to the paper is the Ethereum platform, “For the PoC, the Federal Office decided to use a Blockchain based on Ethereum, with restricted read and write permissions (private and permissioned).”
On arrival, refugees and asylum seekers can be issued a blockchain based prepaid card that “card can subsequently be used like a bank account to which wages can be transferred.” Other benefits include immediate recognition “based on biometric features, which are already collected upon initial registration.” The process will also make a sound database for future queries and issues across all the different organizations that are involved.
Further, as per the paper’s authors, “The creation of a European Blockchain-based identity platform could even constitute a further step towards a united Europe. Digital identities are per se nationally agnostic and could thus support Europe’s unity at a fundamental level.”