Innovation Lab 5: New Technologies Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers- implications for CRVS and ID

The session will be moderated by Dr Jane Thomason and Kyle Kemper. Dr Jane Thomason has 30 years’ experience working in development and is a strong advocate on the use of blockchain technology to tackle problems of inequality and poverty. 

‘Blockchain’ is a term which refers to technology seen as ‘disruptive’, ‘game-changing’ and ‘unhackable’. This session will investigate how these technologies could be applied to CRVS and ID systems. 

The technology is based upon five basic principles: 

  1. Distributed Database: Each party has access to the entire database. No single party controls the data. Every party can verify the records, without an intermediary.  
  2. Peer-to-Peer Transmission: Direct communication between peers instead of through a central node. Each node stores and forwards information to all other nodes.  
  3. Transparency with Pseudonymity: Every transaction and its associated value are visible to anyone with access to the system. Each node, or user, on a blockchain has a unique alphanumeric address that identifies it. Users can choose to remain anonymous or provide proof of their identity to others. Transactions occur between blockchain addresses.  
  4. Irreversibility of Records: Once a transaction is entered in the database and the accounts are updated, the records cannot be altered, because they’re linked to every transaction record that came before them. Recording on the database is permanent, chronologically ordered, and available to all others on the network.  
  5. Computational Logic:. Users can set up algorithms and rules that automatically trigger transactions between nodes 

Both security and transparency for accountability are essential elements of its design. This Lab will consider how such technology could be implemented in new and existing systems; and, significantly, how it could increase the potential for engaging more vulnerable individuals and communities. 

To find out more you can access the background documents here 

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