I read an article a while back on Finland’s use of blockchain technology to provide bank accounts and identity services to immigrants (see MIT TechReview article about Finland).
Blockchains were originally invented as a way of supporting financial transactions outside the current, government monitored, financial marketplace. With Finland’s experiment, the government is starting to use blockchains to support the unbanked and monitoring their financial activity – go figure.
Debit cards on blockchain
Finland’s using a Helsinki based startup MONI, to assign a MONI card, essentially a prepaid MasterCard, to all immigrants. An immigrant can use their MONI card to pay for anything online or in real life, use it as a direct deposit account or to receive and track the use of government assistance.
Underlying the MONI card is public blockchain technology. That is MONI is not using normal credit card services to support it’s bank accounts, MONI money transfers are done through the use of public blockchains.
MONI accounts are essentially (crypto currency) wallets but used as a debit card. The user merely enters a series of numbers into web forms or uses their MONI card at a credit card terminals throughout Europe. Transferring money between MONI users anywhere in the World is also free and instantaneous.
Finland also sees an immutable record of all immigrant financial transactions, that can be monitored to track immigrant (financial) integration into the country.
MONI is intending to make this service more broadly available. A MONI card account costs €2/month and MONI take’s a small cut out of each monetary transaction.
IDs on blockchain
I read another article the other day “Microsoft to implement blockchain-based ID system” in CoinTelegraph about using blockchains as a universal digital ID.
India has over the last decade, implemented a digital government ID using biometrics (see Aadhaar wikipedia article). Other countries have been moving to e-government where use of government services is implemented over the Internet (see EU article on eGovernment in Lithuania). Such eGovernment services depend on a digitized population registry.
Although it’s unclear whether Aadhaar and Lithuania make use of blockchain technology for their ID services, Microsoft’s definitely looking to blockchains to provide unique accounts/digital IDs to it’s population of users.
User signon’s has been a prevalent problem of the web for years. Each and every web and mobile App requires a person to signon to personalize their App. Nowadays, many Apps support using Google ID or Facebook ID for a single signon and there are other technologies being offered that provide similar services. Using a blockchain ID could easily support a single signon service.
The blockchain ID (wallet) public key could easily be used to encrypt an authentication transaction, identifying the App and the user. This authentication transaction would be processed by the blockchain digital ID service would use the private key to decrypt the transaction and use a backend ID App repository for the user to check to see that the user loging in, is the person that opened the account, acting as a sort of “proof of who you are”
Storage on blockchain
A while back I had written about (free) peer to peer storage and compute services (see my Free P2P cloud storage … post). But the problem was how do people benefit from hosting the P2P storage or compute. Filecoin and Storj solved this by paying in cryptocurrencies for storage hosted on your hardware.
Filecoin offers a storage auction and hosting service that anyone worldwide can log into and use. The data stored is encrypted end-to-end so that no one can see what’s being stored and the data is also erasure coded so that it is protected and accessible even with having one or more hosting sites be offline.
Filecoin uses “proofs of storage“, “proofs of space”, “proofs of data possession“, and “proofs of retrievability” as a way to guarantee their storage service works properly. They also use chained “proofs of replication” as “proofs of spacetime” as service validation checks. Proofs of Replication are a way of insuring that storage providers are not deduplicating data copies and charging for non-deduped storage. (See Filecoin’s Proof of Replication paper for more info).
Storj looks somewhat similar to Filecoin, but without as much sophistication behind it.
Compute on blockchain
Ethereum was invented to support smart contracts that run on blockchain technology. IBM’s HyperLegder OpenLedger project (see our GreyBeardsOnStorga Podcast and RayOnStorage post on Hyperledger) is another example.
Smart contracts are essentially applications that run in a blockchains virtualized environment. Blockchain services are used to run an application and validate that’s it’s run only once. In some cases smart contracts use external oracles to query as a way to verify something or some action has occurred outside the blockchain. Other oracles can be entirely digital entities that check on a particular commodity price, weather pattern, account value, etc. The oracle becomes a critical step in determining the go no go status of a smartcontract.
Advertisements vs. crypto mining
I believe this offer is made when the website detects a viewer is using ad blockers.
Tthe trend is clear, people, organizations and even governments are looking at blockchain technology to provide basic and advanced services around the world.
If anyone would is interested in providing a pre-paid Visa card via blockchains, please contact me. I’d like to help.
Now if I could just find my GPU’s at a decent price somewhere…
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Photo Credit(s): Blockchain and the public sector on OpenGovAsia.com