TOKYO, Aug 26, 2019 – NEC Argentina S.A., the Civil Association DECODES (NGO Bitcoin Argentina) and IDB Lab, the Innovation Laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the Blockchain-based Digital Identity for Inclusion Project, which aims to improve the access to quality goods and services for inhabitants of Buenos Aires through a portable, safe, transparent and self-sovereign digital identity.
According to figures provided by the Buenos Aires City Government (GCBA), 16.2% of the city’s inhabitants live below the poverty line. The high levels of economic vulnerability of these residents are associated with the “poverty penalty” concept, which refers to the relatively higher cost shouldered by the poor to access certain goods and services. Although there are several causes of the poverty penalty, one of the main ones is the existence of imperfect information. Absent information regarding the identity and behavior of the most economically vulnerable either prevents the market from including them or includes them at a much higher cost than for the average population.
To tackle these issues, this partnership aims to provide a digital identity to all residents by incorporating Blockchain technology, which enables reliable and safe registration of information on an individual’s activities, while also preserving their privacy and allowing them to control their own data. For example, this digital identity will receive information inputs generated by a digital wallet for unbanked individuals, allowing them to access financial services, such as storing digital money, and making payments, transfers, and remittances while building a transaction history.
The project, which has a duration of four years, will first be introduced in Barrio 31 and is expected to be expanded to two other economically vulnerable neighborhoods in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires. NGO Bitcoin Argentina, an NGO that is responsible for executing the project, is also being supported by IDB Lab, Accenture and IOV Labs (RSK). With the signing of this agreement, NEC Argentina S.A. joins as the main technological partner, contributing directly to the development of the digital identity solution, as well as the integration into third-party projects, public and private, that maximize the contributions of the project to the benefit of the community.
According to the President of NGO Bitcoin Argentina, Rodolfo Andragnes, “One of the main objectives of this project is to demonstrate with concrete cases that the Blockchain represents a radical change in the management of trust, of relations between the inhabitants of a community, and also enhances the efficiency of processes.”
“NEC, as a social value provider, is pleased to collaborate and support initiatives for social inclusion around the world through the application and integration of innovative technologies, such as Blockchain and Biometrics, that will enable a safe, secure, efficient and equal society,” said Jorge Vargas, Head of RCoC NEC Latin America.
“By consolidating trustworthy, accessible, and relevant digital identities, the project ultimately aims to increase access to goods and services for the residents of vulnerable neighborhoods, thus allowing them to improve their opportunities for socioeconomic inclusion in the fourth industrial revolution,” said Erika Molina, Project Team Leader at IDB Lab.