Announced on August 22, 2017, the Brazilian Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management, in association with Microsoft and blockchain acceleration hub ConsenSys, has produced a successful pilot for verifying documents and identity.
According to the report, the Ministry of Planning used uPort, an Ethereum-based, self-sovereign identity platform that allows people to own their identity and control their personal information, "as an identity application for its proof of concept (PoC)" for the purpose of employing blockchain technology for the verification of important notarized documents. In addition, the ministry verified uPort's potential to leverage the Ethereum blockchain for uploading documents and approving signatures. Overall, the pilot showed that the use of the identity application can provide public agencies with access to a streamlined system for approvals and signature.
Adriane Medeiros Melo, Head of Information Technology Department of the Ministry of Planning, commented on the joint effort. "With this PoC developed specifically for the Ministry of Planning, the quality of the solution delivered was once more attested, with highly capable and knowledgeable professionals delivering high-quality and functional software that achieved all the goals and metrics defined by the client."
Of note, the partnership marks a milestone as the first time a South American government has undergone a PoC with blockchain technology. In discussing the potential benefits of blockchain technology, Melo stated:
"This technology promotes the decentralization, audibility, and security of transactions on the Internet, whose potential is to allow the trustworthy exchange of assets through this new channel. This decentralization mitigates the risks of a system with a unique point of failures besides lowering the time and price of operations."
uPort Project Lead Rouven Heck related the value of the cooperation and the importance of the PoC.
"It has been a great experience working on this PoC alongside the Ministry of Planning and Microsoft. We are excited to support innovative and forward-thinking governments like Brazil take the lead in leveraging the power of blockchain. This is an important step in demonstrating how decentralized identity can help build stronger trust between governments and citizens.
This PoC is especially important as it demonstrates how a publicly registered identity can interface with a private government blockchain, illustrating the powerful versatility of Ethereum. Ultimately this enables the Ministry of Planning to provide citizens greater access to its software and services in a more secure, private, and efficient manner, and puts the user in control of their own identity.”
ETHNews previously reported on a platform to be released by uPort next month that will see Zug, Switzerland, play host to a series of services supported by uPort, including e-signatures and parking fee payment. In spring of 2018, Zug will test an e-voting system with uPort.
The Ministry of Planning’s blockchain endeavor represents a first step for Brazil, and represents a continuing awareness by governments of the potential applications for the technology.