- Ethiopia’s Ministry of Peace has announced the launch of a national identification system.
- Local reports confirm that the system is based on Cardano’s Atala PRISM.
The first of Charles Hoskinson’s “birds” has landed in Ethiopia. In recent days, the Cardano inventor has repeatedly used the analogy of birds for upcoming announcements. And as the Ethiopian Ministry of Peace announced yesterday via Facebook, a national identification system seems to be the first “big news”.
As CNF reported, IOG’s John O’Connor, Director of African Operations, teased the world’s largest deployment of blockchain in Africa two weeks ago. O’Connor said IOG is in the final stages of a government contract in Ethiopia to bring several million users onto the Cardano blockchain. Also leaked earlier was that it is a digital identity solution.
The Facebook post now looks like confirmation of the news, even though the message is in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, and thus carries some language barrier, as well as initially not mentioning IOG and Cardano.
Cardano’s Atala PRISM is the base technology
According to the Ministry of Peace, the first pilot test was successfully completed this week under the slogan “One Man is One.” The system stores basic personal information (full name, date of birth, gender, nationality and current address) as well as biometric data (photo, fingerprints and eyeballs). “This system can be used to verify a person’s identity not only with a card but also with a biometric system with the help of digital technology,” the announcement states.
The ministry also announced that “various service providers will integrate their systems with this basic system so that they can serve their customers securely and quickly. Consultations are underway with stakeholders to further mobilize the resources needed to implement the system at the national level.”
Citizens of the African country apparently only need to take a photo via smartphone and enter the required data on their device to register. As an incentive, the Ethiopian government is offering a financial reward for registering. One commenter stated:
Self sovereign identity is not issued by the government. It is rather given to one self. Once you register yourself using your mobile phone (with your photo taken by your phone’s camera) you are already in the system and the only thing that remains is for government entities to certify your claims.
But this certification process can be deferred to citizens. That is for citizens to certify each other, through their kebeles, Idirs, churches and friendship and family. By incentivising the citizen certification process (that is by paying a small amount for each correct verification and punishing attempts to mislead) anyone with a camera equipped mobile phone can earn money by onboarding others who have no mobile phone.
As numerous comments under the Facebook post on local coverage confirm, the underlying system is the Cardano based software Atala PRISM. IOG’s technology is a decentralized identity solution that allows people to own their personal data and interact with organizations seamlessly, privately and securely.
However, confirmation from IOG and CEO Charles Hoskinson is still pending.