Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires, and Brazil are both making significant strides in implementing blockchain-based systems for citizen identity, aiming to enhance security and efficiency in handling sensitive data. Buenos Aires is leading the way with its QuarkID digital identity platform, developed in collaboration with blockchain firm Extrimian, while Brazil is introducing a national blockchain identity card called b-Cadastros.
In Buenos Aires, the QuarkID platform, scheduled for release in October, serves as a private digital wallet allowing citizens to access digitally verifiable versions of crucial government documents such as birth, marriage, and divorce certificates. Notably, Buenos Aires citizens will undergo biometric know-your-customer procedures for identity verification, and the platform employs Matter Labs’ zkSync Era Layer-2 protocol to settle transactions on the blockchain securely. This ensures that documents remain the property of individuals, as verified through signed transactions on the blockchain, reducing susceptibility to data breaches.
QuarkID operates on open-source technology following international standards, with the intention of facilitating easy verification by other governments and potential use by the private sector for applications benefiting from its features. The platform’s roadmap aims to extend its services to over 2.5 million users by the end of the year, with the inclusion of additional features like proof of income and academic certificates.
Meanwhile, in Brazil, the government is implementing the b-Cadastros blockchain network to support the Federal Revenue Service’s shared registry. This network is designed to facilitate the search, issuance, and modification of new ID cards and tax registration numbers. The initiative aligns with the deployment of the National Civil Identity Card (ICN), an upgraded version of Brazil’s existing paper ID cards, issued nationwide since July 2022.
The blockchain-enabled ID in Brazil seeks to centralize processes, reduce fraud, and enhance security by utilizing blockchain technology. The states of Rio de Janeiro, Goiás, and Paraná are among the first to implement the blockchain-based version of the National Revenue Service’s shared registry for issuing new ID cards, with the remaining states expected to follow within the next six weeks.
These developments in Argentina and Brazil reflect a broader trend of growing blockchain adoption in Latin America. The shift is influenced by an increasing inclination towards cryptocurrency transactions among citizens in the region, a trend that gained momentum following El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as an official currency in 2021.
Buenos Aires and Brazil’s initiatives underscore the potential of blockchain technology to enhance security, efficiency, and decentralization in managing citizen identities. These efforts represent a notable step forward in leveraging blockchain for public services, setting the stage for potential adoption by other countries in the region.