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Brazilian Government Announces Blockchain Identity Trials

The Brazilian government has become the latest national executive to investigate blockchain technology for identity management, at a time when the focus on blockchain solutions for public administration continues to intensify.

The Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management has teamed up with Microsoft and ethereum-based blockchain startup ConsenSys to devise a pilot model for verifying user identities, as part of a wider government drive to modernize existing processes.

The agency is planning to use the trial to establish how a blockchain platform can be used to verify the legitimacy of personal documents, in a so-called “self-sovereign” manner, where users have full control over their own personal data.

Identity has long been seen as one of the many areas of public administration that can be effectively performed on the blockchain, resulting in better data integrity, better security and reduced administration costs.

The steps by the Ministry of Planning, which is tasked with managing federal-level budgets and policy, bring Brazil to the forefront of the global drive to develop blockchain identity models.

In recent weeks, similar announcements from Innovate UK and from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have joined the increasing focus on blockchain identity, as government agencies around the world look to better exploit the advantages of the technology in this area.

The ministry’s head of IT, Adriane Medeiros Melo, said the project aims to improve the accuracy of records held by the agency, while helping to “establish a new trust model between government and society.”

The technology is being developed on uPort, an ethereum-based platform designed to specifically address the identity use case on blockchain. An affiliate project of ConsenSys, the uPort protocol will form the basis for the proofs-of-concept models in development for the Brazilian authorities.

As governments, big financial firms and multinationals worldwide continue to push forward with working models of various blockchain use cases, analysts are expecting the coming months will see a range of new trials taking place — including advanced testing of several more developed use cases.

The coming 12 months have been earmarked as a hugely significant period in the development of the technology, as blockchain moves from theoretical proofs-of-concept to market-ready models, both across private-sector applications and public-sector administration globally.

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