Is Bitcoin Technology A Solution For Migration Crisis?
A refugee from a nation of unrest and war loses everything. Properties, jobs, people are some of the vital losses that a refugee has to incur. In addition to these loses a refugee also loses his/her identity. Their government identification proofs in most cases are snatched and wiped out. This means they do not exist in legal and technical terms.
What does that mean for the countries that welcomes refugees? It becomes difficult for them to know who the refugees are, what their background is. A lot of not-for-profit organizations and international aid organizations have also had problems in recognizing and identifying refugees, especially when they do not have an authorized id.
Bitcoin technology has an answer to this problem. Staci Warden, Milken Institute’s Executive Director of the Center for Financial Market, believes that blockchain can help in tackling border crisis. Bitcoin transactions are maintained in a common, tamper-proof ledger that can be viewed in the way a file is viewed in a shared computer location. Let us assume a Syrian refugee arrives in Greece. The authorities in the border can check for identification in the blockchain distributed database. They can even access the particular refugee’s biometric data. There will not be a question of illegitimacy as the ledger is tamper-proof. This gives the authorities a visibility of who the person actually is.
This technology also helps in movement of relief aids without the involvement of intermediary. There have been several initiatives in the past of this nature to manage Syrian refugee crisis. One such initiative was taken by Bitnation. They used Bitcoin to create an Emergency identification for the Syrian refugees . Bitnation also issued a Bitcoin Visa Card. This Visa card, however did not become popular because the refugees can use the card in shops that accepted bitcoins as mode of payment.
While this can be a viable solution, it is important to note that bitcoin technology cannot curb money laundering completely. If a person uses fake id to create a profile on blockchain ledger, then the fake id will be prevalent in the system. The only solution for this problem is to strengthen the bank’s KYC (Know Your Customer) efforts. Blockchain helps to keep a refugee’s identity intact despite the political unrest in the country.