Blockchain could be used to keep track of refugee applications
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Blockchain could be used to keep track of refugee applications

Authorities consider expanding a pilot project to asylum documentation

Experts are looking at different uses of this online technology. Photo: Shutterstock

Experts are looking at different uses of this online technology. Photo: Shutterstock

Malta is looking into the possibility of using blockchain technology to help keep track of refugee applications, according to a European Commission paper on the subject.

Published earlier in May, the paper Blockchain for Digital Government looks at first movers in the EU when it comes to implementing digital ledger technology to national governance.

According to the paper, the Maltese government is currently exploring the expansion of a 2017 project that saw blockchain used to digitise educational certificates.

This, the paper says, could see credentials for refugees also move to this new system.

The emerging technology, the paper says, could be used for verification of identity and recording social aid obtained by refugees in European countries.

The legality of the blockchain-based issuance and verification of certificates is however considered a main barrier to deploy this solution on an international scale.

Blockchain is a decentralised digital database that keeps records of transactions and other information. Rather than having a central administrator like a traditional database, such as the case with banks, the blockchain ledger has a network of replicated databases, synchronised via the internet and visible to anyone within the network.

Expansion of a 2017 project

The government had set up a task force in the previous legislature that is reviewing the best ways to introduce virtual currencies and the use of blockchain technology in Malta.

Just as blockchain can be used for digital transactions, experts are looking at different uses of this online technology.

Back in 2017 Malta had announced a pilot project to explore the possibility of issuing educational certificates on the digital ledger.

The project would see diplomas at MCAST, training certificates at ITS, and equivalence statements, accreditation and licensure from the NCFHE, all issued on the emerging technology.

The Brussels paper details how the project included the issuance of academic credentials, the verification of certificates, and the storage of personal credentials in the user app.

The current educational certificates project, the paper says, was limited to academic credentials, however the system itself could be extended to include multiple types of citizen records, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and so on.

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