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Bhutan launches wallet pilot, unveils website for national SSI digital ID

Bhutan launches wallet pilot, unveils website for national SSI digital ID

Bhutan is advancing the deployment of blockchain-based digital ID, with the government recently unveiling a website and social media handles for the system, along with a national digital wallet.

The launches come months after the National Assembly adopted a legislation to govern the self-sovereign identity (SSI), which seeks to make access to digital services seamless for citizens of the mountainous South Asian country.

The first post on Bhutan NDI’s LinkedIn account announced the website on September 27.

A wallet app for the digital ID system has also been launched on a pilot, according to a video posted to YouTube. The wallet allows users to carry their identity credentials in an app on their mobile devices, making access to government and private sector services easily accessible to them.

Meanwhile the government is developing a Biometric Verification Cryptography system to be used in offline mode for identity verification by those without smart devices or internet connection.

Authorities have explained that the SSI system is seeking to replace the current centralized ID which allows users little or no control over how and to whom they share their personal data. Bhutan says it is “the first sovereign state to implement a comprehensive decentralized digital identity framework.”

NDI’s website refers to collaborations with numerous influential organizations, including ID4Africa, ID2020, GLEIF, ID30, Canada’s DIACC, the Trust Over IP Foundation, the Internet Identity Workshop, and the W3C. SSI advocate “Identity Woman,” Kaliya Young, is also acknowledged as a collaborator.

The country says it hopes to enroll all of its 750,000 citizens into the system, developed by Druk International Investment and GovTech, by the end of the year. The biometrics of over 70 percent of the population have already been collected.

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