The German Government has successfully completed a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) which used blockchain technology to manage the refugee asylum process and published the results on March 26, 2019.
A Simpler Way
Blockchain and immigration are slowly but steadily building a partnership as in recent days, a dissident group is now selling Ethereum-based visas to North Korea, furthermore, it has also been rumored that blockchain will play a significant role in post-Brexit Europe.
Speaking of Europe, Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAFM) published a whitepaper On March 26, 2019, in which it was suggested that blockchain could be used to improve the asylum process of refugees. This conclusion was reached after a proof-of-concept had been successfully tested to this effect.
Blockchain Beyond Borders
The whitepaper which was written about the PoC was edited by BAFM and authored by the Project Group Business & Information Systems Engineering of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT.
The PoC itself was conducted in the first half of 2018 between BAFM, Fraunhofer FIT and another partner who was not named. The PoC focused on two major blockchain applications.
The first was the creation of reliable and accurate digital identifies for the refugees in question and the second was the improvement of the communication between authorities at a municipal, state and national level. The study made use of an Ethereum-derived blockchain for this purpose.
The achieve the first objective, blockchain was used to create a digital identity for refugees who arrived in Germany without any means of identification. Biometric data was captured and stored as this made sure that the accurate information was provided at all levels of the asylum process and that the right identity was consistently allocated to each refugee.
Results of the Study
After the study was carried out, it was decided that the use of blockchain to create a digital identification system could have positive effects for Europe as a whole.
The paper writes:
“Blockchain could be the ‘digital enabler’ of European federalism in the asylum context,”
At the same time, it was acknowledged that personal data protection laws that are currently in place could pose a challenge for this scheme to work. Should the existing laws be adjusted to accommodate the creation of a digital identification database for refugees, a must more streamlined and organized system can be achieved.