Imagine this: upon the birth of a newborn, his/her unique digital identity and profile are created on an independent, globally recognized and trusted ledger, where the name, date of birth, and biographical and biometric data are all recorded and stored (and synced with a body-implanted microchip). As the baby grows, more attributes get added/updated to their profile (vaccine, school certificates, medical reports, etc.). Fast forward and upon turning 18, the person takes possession of his/her digital identity and profile. The profile will continue to grow as more attributes like marital status updates, property ownership, and pension schemes get added.
Now imagine global corporations like Meta, Google, or Amazon own this gigantic ledger, what would that mean? Technically speaking, that means stripping the national governments away from their traditional role as “Regulator/Guarantor”.
Historically, governments are the recognized authorities that issue “authentic” documents and maintain official authentic records. This includes issuing IDs, travel documents, licenses, title deeds, birth/marriage/divorce/death certificates, attestation, and the list goes on! Every day, hundreds of thousands of government officers spend their office time inspecting documents and checking their authenticity, filling applications, and creating/updating records on the “official” governmental registers.
Let’s look again at the above “imaginary” scenario. Well, today’s technology actually allows for such a scenario, which means it is not imaginary anymore!
Take the combination of Digital IDs and Biometrics, for example. This will make national IDs and passports redundant. We will not be required to get a new ID every time we change our “country of residence” anymore as we will be able to use the same digital ID anywhere and everywhere!
Cloud Computing and Blockchain will be a game changer – once matured – as they can accommodate globally independent huge ledgers. No need to review, inspect, or attest certificates/deeds as all this happens when the event is created on the blockchain ledger (without human intervention).
What’s interesting (and maybe scary to governments) is that all the above can be done by global private corporations and not governments. These corporations are better equipped and much more efficient to perform these tasks.
The above is just one scenario that demonstrates the fundamental change that will happen to the very core of government services as we know it today. Many government services and, by default, government entities across the globe will sit redundant when these technologies mature and take over. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will disappear and billions of dollars from “government services” will vanish as issuance fees, registration fees, renewal fees, and attestation fees will no longer exist.
In my view, governments should seriously be reimagining and redefining their value proposition sooner than later to mitigate the devastating impacts of the inevitable upcoming disruption.