How Blockchain Technology Could Help Developing Countries Part 7

Examples of current programs and problems.

 

Aadhaar is a program by the government of India. The program started in 2009. In short, Aadhaar is the digital identity issued by the Indian government. It is a 12-digit number that any resident of the country can get. The number is linked to a person’s biometric and demographic profile. The authority that manages the collection, storage and numbers in the country is the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of India.

Aadhaar program is the largest biometric program in the world. According to the World Bank, the program saves India over one billion dollars because it cuts corruptions by being available to a large number of residents in the country. The program had an influence on a large number of industries in the country, including banks, payment processing, security, access and compliance.

The goal of the Aadhaar program was similar to the goals of many of the blockchain networks today. Just like many of the blockchain network aim to streamline processes in an industry or in a variety of industries, the purpose of the Aadhaar program was to streamline the process of identity verification across various industries in India, departments in the Indian government, and Indian businesses. Today, banks in India also use the number to report customer information to regulation authorities. The government of the country is also using the number to help people with disadvantaged backgrounds get access to the services they couldn’t access before.

In the past, many of the people in the country could not get the benefits they were entitled to because they simply didn’t have the paper documents. While the number does not replace other identification documents such as passports, it does allow businesses and government institutions to use biometric data instead of paper data when a business or an institution has a customer profile.

For example, Western Union’s locations in India have biometric identification functionality, meaning that when a person in India wants to use Western Union, he or she can use a biometric fingerprint instead of other forms of identification. In 2014, the Prime Minister of the country has ordered banks in the country to start opening accounts for people who could provide Aadhaar numbers. This led to the number of residents in India who do not have bank accounts go down by about 20%, from 557 million people without bank accounts in 2011, to about 230 million of people with no bank accounts in 2015. People in India can also they their biometric information to get mobile phone service, which is a process that in most countries around the world requires multiple forms of identification and can take time to go through.

In countries like China and Kenya, people today can easily pay for something if all they have on them is their phone. The revolution of Aadhaar is that with Aadhaar, people don’t even need to have a phone on them. If a business or a company has access to their Aadhaar profile, all the person needs is to touch a fingerprint machine and verify the fingerprint.

In 2017, the government of India ordered all financial institutions in the country to start full migration to Aadhaar-compliant systems, which would allow India to become a cashless society one day.

 

Money in the digital world

As the world is becoming more and more interconnected, moving money is changing. In the past, moving money was more about banks communicating with each other and using third parties to make sure that money was going to the right places. Today, moving money is more about moving, verifying, managing and protecting the information about the customers. People are traveling more and more and spending more and more time online, logging into their accounts and various services from different devices and different locations, which means that verification of identities is becoming more and more important.

People all over the world today access social media, communication platforms such as Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger, their bank accounts and online stores. For users, this means a lot of headaches storing various passwords and proving their identities over and over again. Also, because there is a large amount of data with customer information that businesses and governments collect and store, the probability of this information getting into the hands of hackers is increasing.