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Illinois Launches Blockchain Pilot to Digitize Birth Certificates

The state of Illinois has begun work on a new blockchain pilot focused on the digitization of birth certificates.

Working with blockchain identity startup Evernym, the tools being designed would, if put into production, allow parents and doctors present at the time of birth to officially log the birth on a permissioned blockchain.

But the project, which forms part of the state’s broader blockchain efforts, is about more than just birth certificates.

According to Jennifer O’Rourke, who serves as Illinois’ blockchain business liaison, the platform being designed could ultimately lead to a broader identity tool-set that a person can use over the years.

O’Rourke told CoinDesk:

“In this pilot, businesses and governments would be able to verify and authenticate a citizen’s identity by requesting encrypted access to verifiable claims.”

Within the proposed framework, existing government agencies would be able to verify a person’s registration information at birth, then cryptographically sign data related to a person’s name, date of birth, blood type, and other details.

That information is expected to be stored on a tamper-proof distributed ledger that would only be accessible with consent from a legal guardian – up until the age that the person becomes a legal adult.

At this early stage in the pilot development, efforts are being focused on creating a user interface that parents and doctors can use to digitize the birth certificate, as well as enabling other back-office processes that come into place.

The tools being developed build on work done by a task force within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), according to a statement.

O’Rourke expects the pilot to be completed in “the near term,” with a formal announcement scheduled to be made next month at the MyData2017 Conference in Helsinki, Finland.

“We’re going to start with that child, then we want to make sure that we capture that information for the parent, and also for the doctor as well,” said O’Rourke, explaining what she believes is the end-value of moving the data to a blockchain:

“Those input points should not be static or paper-based.”

Newborn image via Shutterstock

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Bitcoin Price Jumps Above $4,800 for the First Time

Bitcoin’s price briefly passed above the $4,800 mark for the first time today.

According to data from CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), the price of the cryptocurrency hit a high of $4,802.74, before falling back to levels seen over the past few hours of trading.

At press time, the price of bitcoin is trading at roughly $4,762, per data from the BPI.

The push above $4,800 continued gains seen earlier today, when bitcoin once again crossed $4,700 to hit a new all-time high. That milestone was buoyed by an overall lift in cryptocurrency prices that pushed the collective market capitalization above $170 billion for the first time.

Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs chief technician Sheba Jafari wrote in a note to clients that bitcoin prices could surge above $4,800 in the trading sessions to come – though she cautioned that the push had the potential to fall to as low as $3,000 or below. At the time, the cryptocurrency was trading around $4,300.

Pole vault image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [email protected].

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Weeks After Seizure, Troubled Bitcoin Exchange BTC-e Is Back Online

BTC-e, the bitcoin exchange charged by US authorities last month with a host of money laundering crimes, has launched a new website weeks after its original one was seized by law enforcement.

The site is accessible through the domain btc-e.nz, though it appears that users in some parts of the world, including the U.S., are not able to log in. CoinDesk was able to access the domain through the use of a virtual private network, or VPN.

For now, users appear to be limited to being able to check their funds balances and post messages in the BTC-e chat box.

In a post on the Bitcoin Talk forum yesterday, a representative for the exchange said that user access would form part of a broader relaunch plan that will see BTC-e rebrand under the auspices of what they say will be a regulated investment firm.

At press time, 3,239 users of the site are logged in, according to statistics posted on the BTC-e page.

As CoinDesk previously reported, Greek authorities – acting on a US warrant – arrested a Russian national last month who they alleged helped operated the BTC-e exchange – an accusation that representatives for BTC-e later denied.

After its domain had been seized and an indictment was handed down by US prosecutors, those left in control took to a long-used Bitcoin Talk account to announce a revival plan. Part of that plan, as reported at the time, involves the launch of a debt token aimed at recouping some of the losses for users.

An update on the new BTC-e page recommended that users reset their security settings, given the recent moves by US authorities.

“Because of the seizure of the data, there is a high risk that it has been compromised. That is why in order to protect your funds, you need to refresh the security settings,” the message states.

CoinDesk will continue monitoring this developing story. 

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [email protected].