Illinois Eyes Blockchain for IDs and Public Asset Management

An Illinois government task force has outlined a potential direction for applying blockchain technologies in the state's inter-government operations.

According to a report filed on Jan. 31 by the Illinois Blockchain Task Force to the General Assembly, the state is eyeing the use of blockchain technologies to, at least, manage state residents' identification, as well as tokenizing assets in the public sector to improve efficiency and reduce entitlement fraud.

The task force detailed in the report that using a blockchain-powered platform would allow state citizens to access and store all their ID information, such as tax, voting, and driver license, etc., as decentralized nodes. This user-centric model would then let citizens own the information and share with different government agencies for public services.

The report states:

"This new model would reimagine the relationship between state and individual, as government would become the verifier, rather than the custodian, of people's public service identity. Government would move from providing data storage to verifying identity, allowing users to store access to personal data securely on devices."

In addition, the team also suggested that blockchain technology has potential for Illinois' public sector in digitalizing assets such as tax credits, social benefits and municipal bonds, and so on.

By tokenizing these asset through blockchain technology, such as the ethereum blockchain, can bring transparency to each transaction, the report said. This improves efficiency by reducing manual paperwork while avoiding benefit entitlement fraud.

Also as part of its research initiative, the task force has also published a database that tracks worldwide initiatives that are currently exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technologies in public sectors.

The long-waited report comes as the latest research effort by the inter-government task force, as required by the legislative house to present potential areas in which the state can utilize blockchain to advance its technological capability.

Formed by law in June last year, the group sees joint efforts from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), the Cook County Recorder of Deeds and the Department of Innovation and Technology. Others include appointees by Illinois' secretary of state, and leaders from both the state's House and Senate.

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