Accenture, Microsoft team up on blockchain-based digital ID network


By Anna IrreraNEW YORK, June 19 (Reuters) - Accenture Plc <ACN.N> and
Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> are teaming up to build a digital ID
network using blockchain technology, as part of a United
Nations-supported project to provide legal identification to 1.1
billion people worldwide with no official documents.
    The companies unveiled a prototype of the network on Monday
at the UN headquarters in New York during the second summit of
ID2020, a public-private consortium promoting the UN 2030
Sustainable Development Goal of providing legal identity for
everyone on the planet.
    The project aims to help individuals such as refugees prove
who they are in order to gain access to basic services such as
education and healthcare.
    Blockchain, first developed as a public ledger of all
transactions in the digital currency bitcoin, is increasingly
being used to securely track data in other fields.
    "Without an identity you can't access education, financial
services, healthcare, you name it. You are disenfranchised and
marginalized from society," David Treat, a managing director in
Accenture's financial services practice, said in an interview.
    "Having a digital identity is a basic human right."
    The new platform will connect existing record-keeping
systems of commercial and public entities through blockchain,
allowing users to access to their personal information wherever
they are.
    For example, refugees who have fled their country leaving
behind birth or education paper certificates would still be able
to provide proof of those credentials through the system.
    One of the main advantages of blockchain is that it allows
systems of different organizations to communicate with each
other, Yorke Rhodes, global business strategist at Microsoft,
said in an interview.
    The prototype was built on top of an existing Accenture
platform, which powers the biometric identity management system
used by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
    Accenture and Microsoft, which worked on the prototype with
managed service provider Avanade Inc, are inviting other
companies to join their project.
    PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cisco Systems Inc <CSCO.O> are
among the organizations involved in ID2020.
    "What ID2020 is truly focused on is bringing together an
alliance of stakeholders to ensure the technology that is being
developed is responsive to the needs of individuals," Dakota
Gruener, executive director at ID2020, said in an interview.
    "Technology is only one piece of this."

 (Reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by Richard Chang)
 ((; +1-646-223-4005; Twitter @annairrera))


This article appears in: Stocks , Politics
Referenced Symbols: ACN , CSCO , MSFT

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