Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is embarking on a significant endeavor to integrate blockchain technology into its bureaucratic systems. Commencing this October, residents of the city will gain access to their identity documents through a digital wallet, as announced on September 28th.
The initial set of documents available on the blockchain will encompass birth and marriage certificates, along with verifications of income and academic credentials. Notably, the announcement outlines future plans to incorporate health data and payment management, with a comprehensive roadmap for the nationwide adoption of this blockchain-based solution slated for completion by the end of 2023.
Driving the foundational infrastructure of this project is QuarkID, a digital identity protocol developed by the Web3 company Extrimian. QuarkID wallets leverage zkSync Era, an Ethereum scaling protocol that employs zero-knowledge rollups. This cutting-edge technology enables one party to substantiate the truth of a statement to another party without disclosing any specific details about the statement itself.
Guillermo Villanueva, the CEO of Extrimian, lauded this development as a momentous stride toward a safer and more efficient future for government services in Latin America. Notably, data stored within these wallets will be self-sovereign, granting citizens control over the dissemination of their credentials when engaging with government entities, businesses, and individuals. ZkSync Era will serve as the settlement layer for QuarkID, guaranteeing the accuracy of each citizen’s credentials.
The Argentine government and the City of Buenos Aires view their digital identity framework as a public good. According to Diego Fernandez, Buenos Aires’ secretary of innovation:
“With this groundbreaking development, Buenos Aires assumes the mantle of being the first city in Latin America, and among the pioneers globally, to embrace and champion this transformative technology. It sets a precedent for how other nations in the region can harness blockchain technology to benefit their populace.”
Additionally, Argentine authorities are examining a similar initiative within the country: the Worldcoin digital ID project. In August, local authorities disclosed an investigation into privacy concerns surrounding Worldcoin’s collection, storage, and utilization of user data. Notably, Worldcoin, founded by Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI, employs retinal scans for user verification. This initiative has also come under scrutiny in Europe and Africa since its global launch in July.