Passports should be put on the blockchain, along with other official forms of identification, to create one single online identity for citizens, a think tank has urged.
Blockchain's distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be used to create a single source of authenticated information and using it to underpin public services could speed up payment of benefits as well as reduce security risks, according to a new report from Reform.
A single app powered by blockchain should be built for use across departments, which can often request information, for instance for a tax credits applications, which is already held somewhere else, like when a passport is issued.
The think tank also suggests that this app should be paired with biometrics so that the public can give approval for the use of information using a thumb print or face scan with their smartphone.
The government is currently trying to build out its online identity checking service Verify – something that the government said it wants to roll out to 25 users by 2020 – however, Reform notes that a significant department, HMRC, has yet to use it.
There have been tentative experiments with blockchain for government services, with a trial for making benefits payments. Elsewhere, Estonia is pioneering digital identity with blockchain technology.