Posted on

Accenture Thinks the US Can Still Be a Blockchain Innovator

Is the U.S. government committed to testing blockchain solutions?

While some at last week’s D.C. Blockchain Summit say they suspect the government isn’t sincere, David Treat, a managing director and co-head of Accenture’s Global Blockchain Practice, believes this answer couldn’t be farther from reality.

Despite the sometimes heated rhetoric of the nation’s lawmakers on some of its more controversial applications, Treat believes government interest in the technology has produced “an unprecedented degree of participation and collaboration,” one that is an equal opportunity for Accenture. 

Perhaps predictably, Accenture wishes to capitalize on this by using its prior experience in developing government services to secure a central role in the U.S. government’s blockchain pursuits, particularly those related to digital identity.

The professional services company is currently working with partners such as the World Economic Forum and the United Nations on projects like the Known Traveler Identity Initiative and the ID2020 Alliance. They’re also speaking to people at whom the technology is directed – refugees, for instance.

But, according to Treat, digital identity projects must necessarily involve individuals and governments.

He told CoinDesk:

“Ultimately, it’s important that how we modernize digital identity satisfies all of the needs of what a nation-state needs as well as an individual, and we think the solution pattern we’re designing and starting to build really threads that needle and can satisfy both.”

While digital identity issues are a priority for Accenture, it also has its sights set on facilitating the government adoption of other blockchain applications.

According to Treat, Accenture welcomes the input of regulators in the development of its blockchain services. “The more they can come along with everyone else and be part of that innovation journey and modernize regulation, the better off we’re going to be,” he claimed. 

Despite this congenial attitude, Treat said in the interview that he wouldn’t go as far as calling himself “pro-regulation.” Rather,”pro-engagement with the regulatory community,” he clarified.

Image by Annaliese Milano for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Posted on

Microsoft, Hyperledger, UN Join Blockchain Identity Initiative

Tech giant Microsoft and blockchain alliance Hyperledger have joined blockchain-based digital identity initiative, the ID2020 Alliance.

Announced during the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland yesterday, the alliance – which aid agency Mercy Corps and the U.N. International Computing Center have also just joined – aims to improve people’s lives through provision of digital identities.

According to a press release, the group is developing solutions with a focus on user’s direct ownership and control over their personal data using blockchain technology. At issue is the fact that over 1.1 billion people face not able to prove their identity, and thus struggle to access benefits and services. The situation also gives rise to more serious issues such as human trafficking, according to the World Bank.

The initiative has now received a $1 million donation from Microsoft, as well as contributions from entities including Accenture and the Rockefeller Foundation. Accenture, one of the founding member of the initiative, announced a $1 million investment during the ID2020 Alliance summit last summer at New York.

David Treat, MD of the global blockchain practice at Accenture said:

“Decentralized, user-controlled digital identity holds the potential to unlock economic opportunity for refugees and others who are disadvantaged, while concurrently improving the lives of those simply trying to navigate cyberspace securely and privately.”

The release explained that digital identity that is user-owned would include government-issued forms of legal identification and allow a seamless authentication process for people and institutions.

“We are building an ecosystem of partners committed to working across national and institutional borders to address this challenge at scale,” Dakota Gruener, the Executive Director of the ID2020 Alliance, noted.

Last June, Microsoft and Accenture unveiled a blockchain prototype for ID2020, that is powered by a private version of the ethereum blockchain.

Passport and credit cards 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 news@coindesk.com.