Wondering how blockchain might soon become a part of your everyday life? Look no further than Canada. Canada is making moves to incorporate blockchain in both aviation and finance. According to new reports, the country is also exploring its use via a pilot program for a blockchain-based airline passenger identification system as well as attempting to harness it to improve transparency in government funding.

Last week, Canada announced that it will work with the World Economic Forum and its partners to test new technologies for air travel identity protocols. The result is a proof-of-concept pilot program between Canada, the Netherlands, and Accenture, the first iteration of a blockchain-based ID system, called Known Traveler Digital Identity. A document released by the WEF  introducing the Known Traveler concept explained that it is “founded on the principle than an individual traveler has control over the use of their own identity and its components.”

Utilizing a blockchain to allow individuals greater control over their own digital identity as they navigate the complex world of air travel could be a massive step forward in broad blockchain adoption, and the WEF makes it clear how fundamental emerging technology is to the project.  “Due to this decentralization of control over the components of their identity,” the document continues, “a traveler can push proof of their identity information — secured by distributed ledger technology and cryptography — to governmental and private sector entities throughout their journey.”

How exactly the Known Traveler concept will play out is unknown, but the prospect of blockchain allowing travelers greater control of their identity and documentation sounds promising. The system appears to embrace blockchain’s promise of enabling trust in a network without ceding control of the network to any one central authority.

Simultaneously, on the ground, Canada is testing an Ethereum blockchain-based system to provide greater transparency about how and where government funding is allotted. In a relatively straightforward use case, but still game-changing in its own right, Canada’s National Research Council is using the Ethereum blockchain to “proactively publish grants and contribution data in real time,” complementing their ongoing quarterly disclosures. The proof of concept is available now, on the CNRC website.

“On the simplest level,” the website explains, “blockchains are public ledgers that record transactions shared among users. Once data is entered on a blockchain it is secure and unalterable, providing a permanent public record. This technology offers unprecedented levels of transparency and trust allowing public records to be searched, verified and audited at a level the world hasn’t seen before.”

A blockchain being used as a searchable record of grants may not seem exciting on its surface, but if such transparency and accountability can become commonplace in governments around the world, it could have profoundly positive effects on a local and global scale.

 

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