Buenos Aires, Argentina, is embracing blockchain technology to streamline its administrative processes. Beginning this October, residents of the city will have access to their identity documents through a digital wallet, marking a significant step in the integration of blockchain into governmental services.
The initial documents available on the blockchain will encompass birth and marriage certificates, income verification, and academic records. Furthermore, the city authorities have revealed plans to incorporate health data and payment management into the system, with a comprehensive rollout strategy set to be established by the close of 2023.
The driving force behind this initiative is QuarkID, a digital identity protocol developed by Extrimian, a prominent Web3 company. QuarkID wallets leverage zkSync Era, an Ethereum scaling protocol employing zero-knowledge rollups. This cutting-edge technology allows one party to validate the truth of a statement without disclosing the specific details of the statement itself.
Guillermo Villanueva, CEO of Extrimian, expressed the significance of this move, stating, “This is a monumental step towards a safer and more efficient future for government services in Latin America.”
One of the key advantages of this blockchain-based solution is the concept of self-sovereign data. Citizens will have control over the sharing of their credentials when engaging with government agencies, businesses, and individuals. The zkSync Era will serve as the settlement layer for QuarkID, ensuring the accuracy of each citizen’s credentials.
The Argentine government and the City of Buenos Aires view their digital identity framework as a public good. According to Diego Fernandez, Buenos Aires’ secretary of innovation, “With this development, Buenos Aires becomes the first city in Latin America, and one of the first in the world, to integrate and promote this new technology and set the standard for how other countries in the region should use blockchain technology for the benefit of their people.”
Notably, Argentine authorities are also exploring a similar initiative known as Worldcoin, a digital ID project currently under scrutiny due to privacy concerns related to data collection, storage, and usage. Worldcoin, launched globally in July, collects retinal scans for user verification and was founded by Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI.
In embracing blockchain for digital identity, Buenos Aires is not only enhancing efficiency but also setting a precedent for digital innovation in Latin America.