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60 Organizations Collaborate To Build Blockchain-based COVID-19 Immunity Passports

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Blockchain self-sovereign identity (SSI) technologists are working together to develop COVID-19 immunity passports that don’t compromise the users’ privacy.

Having some sort of immunity credentials would allow people to return to normal life, so the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI) is trying to develop a digital certificate that’s complying with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard of Verifiable Credentials.

Proving the Recovery from the Coronavirus

The certificate allows individuals to prove and to ask others for proof that they have recovered from the coronavirus, that they’re positive for antibodies or have been vaccinated, after a vaccine becomes available, of course. More than 60 SSI organizations are involved in the project, including Streetcred, TNO, esatus, Georgetown University, and others like TrustNet from Pakistan, DIDx from South Africa, Northern Block from Canada and Consulcesi from Italy.

Health Care Institutions to Issue the Certificates

The digital certificates would have to be issued by health care institutions. However, they would be controlled and shared by users in a peer-to-peer (P2P) manner. There’s an agreement in the tech world that some sort of digital certificates should exist. Even Microsoft’s former CEO and founder, Bill Gates, said at a Reddit AMA from last month that:

“EVENTUALLY WE WILL HAVE SOME DIGITAL CERTIFICATES TO SHOW WHO HAS RECOVERED OR BEEN TESTED RECENTLY OR WHEN WE HAVE A VACCINE WHO HAS RECEIVED IT.”
Why Blockchain?

Using blockchain protocols like Hyperledger Aries and Hyperledger Indy, the CCI solution is related to the Linux Foundation. With the SSI and Verifiable Credentials, it gets to instill a higher level of trust between the credential’s issuer, the credential’s holder and the verifier. The holder would be in the center of the system, not to mention no longer required to go back-and-forth between the issuer and the verifier. Holders would also have the power of choosing what to share and with whom to share it.

At its core, the certificate would have a decentralized (DLT) architecture that doesn’t run too much data on blockchains. Here’s what the chief trust officer at Evernym, Drummond Reed, had to say about the it:

“IT’S A VERY THIN-LAYER USAGE OF BLOCKCHAIN JUST FOR CRYPTOGRAPHIC INFRASTRUCTURE. ALL THE CREDENTIALS ARE EXCHANGED OFF-CHAIN, PEER-TO-PEER. THE ROLE OF BLOCKCHAIN IS SUPER-IMPORTANT, BUT IT’S THIN.”
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