Buenos Aires is teaming up with QuarkID to issue digital identification services to citizens in Buenos Aires — home to over 15 million people. zkSync Era will serve as the anchor protocol for the initiative.
In the wake of nations including Argentina probing biometric cryptocurrency project Worldcoin’s data collection processes, it’s crucial that privacy and transparency be upheld in digital identification programs.
Starting in October, Argentine citizens in Buenos Aires will be able to download a self-sovereign QuarkID wallet to claim birth and marriage certificates. Documents including proof of income and academic verification will be available to obtain by November.
Blockchain technology adoption has always set its sights on a billion users. However, it’s been 8 and 14 years since the launch of Ethereum and Bitcoin, respectively, so where will the crypto adoption come from?
Self-sovereignty is a foundational pillar of Web3's ethos. While many popular applications in crypto have primarily been financial use cases, perhaps more useful and practical self-sovereignty use cases extend way beyond just your financial assets.
Today we’re excited to announce a new initiative revolving around such a use case: citizen-owned digital identity. The City of Buenos Aires, Argentina will gradually bring Web3 identity solutions to all of the city’s citizens, all of which will be powered by the privacy-focused properties of zkSync Era.
In the effort to propel Web3 identity solutions across the globe, it’s crucial that privacy be kept at the forefront of technologies that usher in personal data ownership. A permissionless, decentralized world in which privacy is neglected is one that ignores Web3’s purpose.
We believe in a future where personal freedom and self-sovereign digital identity will empower individuals to safely and securely custody their data.
With Argentina’s new blockchain-based identification initiative, citizens will be able to claim ownership over their personal documents, health data, and in the future, manage payment processing.
In building out the infrastructure for this program, Buenos Aires is leveraging QuarkID to help issue blockchain-based identification services.
QuarkID is an open-source digital identity protocol built by Extrimian, the leading Latin American decentralized identity firm. QuarkID is utilizing zkSync Era as its anchor protocol, powering the wallets that individuals will use to claim their documents.
“This is a monumental step towards a safer and more efficient future for government services in Latin America,” said the CEO of Extrimian, Guillermo Villanueva. “QuarkID creates a closer relationship between a government and its citizens while also bringing digital identity practices and security standards to Latin America.”
Data stored within QuarkID wallets will be self-sovereign, allowing citizens to manage the delivery of their credentials when interacting with administrative services. zkSync Era will act as the settlement layer for QuarkID, ensuring that each participating citizen owns the correct credentials.
While QuarkID is debuting in Buenos Aires, its technology is designed to scale globally. QuarkID was created with international standards in mind such as W3C, Trust Over IP, and Sovrin Foundation, and is interoperable with networks across the world.
While blockchain-based digital identity is a revolutionary mechanism to bring citizens’ data back into their own hands, it’s a topic that is often met with controversy when analyzing how decentralized these processes actually are.
In early August, the Kenyan government ordered Open AI CEO Sam Altman’s biometric cryptocurrency project Worldcoin to stop signing up new users, citing data privacy concerns.
Several nations including Argentina’s Agency for Access to Public Information launched investigations into Worldcoin over how the biometric data is stored, offering money in exchange for data, as well as the risks associated with having so much data in the hands of a private company.
However, despite the risks, almost 2.3 million people globally have signed up to have their irises scanned by Worldcoin's "orb" devices in exchange for a digital ID and free cryptocurrency.
While the AAPI and others are still investigating Worldcoin’s privacy and security standards, it’s no secret that leveraging the transparency and security of cutting-edge ZK technology coupled with Ethereum would alleviate these concerns, as well as unlock the killer app of privacy-preserving digital identity for entire countries.
With zkSync and Ethereum as the backbone of this program, personal data stored on-chain helps mitigate identity theft and personal information attacks that are often associated with centralized data-storage technologies. By bringing data back into the hands of the individuals who own these documents—all while prioritizing privacy—zkSync makes digital ownership reliable, trustless, and secure.
The Argentine government and the City of Buenos Aires aim to make its digital identity framework a public good, meaning that individuals will be able to transact information between the government, businesses, and other individuals.
“With this development, Buenos Aires becomes the first city in Latin America, and one of the first in the world, to integrate and promote this new technology and set the standard for how other countries in the region should use blockchain technology for the benefit of their people,” said Diego Fernandez, Secretary of Innovation of the Buenos Aires City Government.
Starting with the City of Buenos Aires, home to over 15 million citizens, then ultimately expanding across Argentina’s population of 45 million people, this move brings the potential to collaborate with a diverse range of countries across Latin America and its over 650 million people.
Beginning in October, Buenos Aires residents will be able to download a QuarkID wallet and claim personal identification documents including birth and marriage certificates. QuarkID will be available to all Argentinian citizens, and will progressively become required throughout the country.
By November, documents including proof of income and academic verification will be available to obtain in QuarkID wallets. At the end of 2023, the government will establish QuarkID’s future roadmap and outline the expansion milestones to initially deliver its services to over 2.5 million citizens.
Buenos Aires is a trailblazer in this initiative, and we’re excited to play a role in helping usher in a new era of the internet through digital ownership. We hope that nations around the world see Argentina as an example of how Web3 identity can thrive at a government level.