27 November, 2017
10:00 am - 11:30 am

Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE, Member of the Artificial Intelligence Select Committee

Blockchain: securing digital identities

Reform welcomed Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE, Member of the Artificial Intelligence Select Committee who led this roundtable on ‘Blockchain: securing digital identities’.

Blockchain can transform public services, and the wider economy. Most commonly associated with Bitcoin, the online currency, blockchain provides a secure record of transactions. Many are calling it the second internet.

In the UK, it can revolutionise identity management. Under the current system, citizens have no visibility or little effective control over who accesses their data. Blockchain has the capacity to allow citizens to store their identity, such as passport and national insurance number, on smartphones, and share it automatically with public services, such as the border. This is more secure and more efficient for the user.

Using blockchain for identity management would allow the UK to match international pioneers, such as Estonia. Doing this requires policymakers to answer key questions about control of identity, data sharing and data security.

We were delighted to hold a high-level roundtable which investigated how blockchain could improve identity management for citizens and government. The roundtable launched a new Reform report, sponsored by Accenture, on blockchain in public services.

The event took place under the Chatham House Rule and was held in partnership with Accenture: