Canada Digital ID System Could Use Blockchain to Secure Data, Says Banking Executive

A Canadian banking group supports the idea of using blockchain technology as part of a digital ID system for residents, national news agency The Canadian Press reported via various local media outlets on Jan. 15.

Speaking during a presentation at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto, chief executive of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) Neil Parmenter said it was necessary for untamperable solutions to form the basis of ID procedures relating to the banking and finance sectors going forward.

The comments come as Canada eyes the opportunities afforded by so-called open banking, a reenvisioning of the banking field that would allow third-party companies such as fintech startups to participate and share access to user data.

The country’s government launched a public consultation into the concept last week.

“Instantly verifying who someone is using multiple digital reference points is more secure than relying on a photocopy of a driver’s licence,” Parmenter said, noting:

“Because this digital network is connected, yet decentralized, the risk of compromising the system is reduced by eliminating ‘honeypots’ of data that hackers tend to target.”

The CBA originally sketched out plans for digital ID in a whitepaper in May last year. The document did not make specific reference to blockchain, but praised ID systems currently being rolled out in Estonia and India as instructive for Canada’s future preparations.

The Indian scheme, known as Aadhaar, has nonetheless attracted criticism, including from within cryptocurrency circles.

Canada, meanwhile, is also looking to employ blockchain a state level in other areas, the most recent of which involving customs formalities at borders.

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