At 27 Machines, we are always looking to learn about how blockchain is helping organizations solve problems creatively, and even more so when it’s in the realm of social good and social impact. We attended our first Blockchain for Social Good Chicago (BSGC) meetup at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center in Downtown Chicago to learn more about Project Safe Harbor.
The meetup was titled “Connecting Asylum Seekers with Humanitarian Resources.” The Project Safe Harbor team entered the global Blockchain Virtual GovHack. Thus, the presentation provided a high-level overview of their project. The challenge was to re-invent global identity as it applies to asylum seekers. They introduced us to the concept of self-sovereign identity. Rather than rely on third parties, government agencies, or organizations to grant identity, a decentralized system can help. Both the individual and an organization can count on this new system to confirm identity. This method is key for asylum seekers where an oppressive or authoritarian government can choose to withhold or eliminate a person’s identity. Reliable bookkeeping is a benefit as we published how to use blockchain in the legal industry. That benefit definitely applies in this use case.
Regarding technologies they leveraged for the project, they used uPort as the platform to manage self-sovereign identities. The uPort platform is built on Ethereum. The project also attempts to match resettled asylum seekers using an opt-in photo service powered by OpenBR.
We’re always excited to hear about how companies are no longer trying to create technologies from scratch. They are being creative in combining existing technologies to solve problems. We’re looking forward to attending more events and learning more about the needs of the social good, social impact, and civic technology community.