Nationwide Blockchain ID System for Sierra Leone in the Works

The government of Sierra Leone has teamed up with the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNDCF) to develop a nationwide blockchain-based ID System. With the help of a technology nonprofit organization called Kiva, Sierra Leone moves closer to modernizing its way of securing the identities of the country’s seven million citizens.

Kiva’s new initiative will create a nationwide digital identification system with the use of blockchain technology in accessing financial services. When someone makes a loan, a signed verifiable claim will be sent to the borrower. When the verifiable claim is accepted, the borrower posts it to his private ledger in his Kiva e-wallet. This new system records all credits on a single ledger which can add to the person’s credit history whether it is by a formal or informal financial institution.

Neville Crawley, Kiva CEO, said:

“With this partnership in Sierra Leone, we hope to carve a path to a system of global identity and federated credit history. This can unlock capital for the populations who need it most, allowing lenders to massively increase services and the flow of funds to the world’s unbanked.”

Kiva specifically chose Sierra Leone for the implementation of the Kiva Protocol because the West African country currently has only one credit bureau that finances 2,000 people. Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio is focused on making advancements for the country, among which is a provision for civil identification.

Last September 27, during the 73rd UN General Assembly, President Bio announced that the West African country will push through with the Kiva Protocol. He said:

“The Government of Sierra Leone has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UNDP, UNCDF, and Kiva on strengthening our National Digital Identification and Credit Reference Bureau process. Sierra Leone will now modernize its Credit Reference Bureau and radically transform its financial inclusion landscape.”

The UN supports Kiva and Sierra Leone’s plan to innovate the country’s banking system as this can speed up the country’s economic development.

Xavier Michon, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNCDF, said:

“Through this implementation, Sierra Leone is setting out to build one of the most advanced, secure credit bureaus. It could serve as a model for both developing and developed nations in the future and has the potential to change the landscape of financial inclusion radically.”

The Kiva Protocol project will commence by 2019. This initiative is also called “The Credit Bureau of the Future” as Kiva’s blockchain technology will provide credit history and identification for all of the citizens of Sierra Leone.