The UK government has announced that its struggling e-identity platform will close within 18 months. The government will invest in transitioning whatever they have built so far to the private sector. The suppliers which have won the contracts are Barclays, Digidentity, Experian, Post Office and Secure Identity.

I first came across Gov.UK Verify when I was working on the common platform project for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and later with London Borough of Enfield’s council.

The move comes after the Cabinet Office’s major projects watchdog, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, recommended in July that Verify should be terminated because Whitehall departments had lost confidence in the system and were unwilling to fund further development.

What is Gov.UK Verify?

GOV.UK Verify is a secure way to prove who you are online.

It makes it safe, quick and easy to access government services like filing your tax or checking the information on your driving licence.

When you use GOV.UK Verify, you don’t need to prove your identity in person or wait for something to arrive in the post.

Quick explainer video

So what are the 5 reasons why the program should be moved to the Blockchain?

  1. Citizen should be in control of their personal data (self-sovereign)
  2. There are Open Source initiatives well underway to help establish a cross-border standard such as Hyperledger Indy and Sovrin
  3. £130 millions of tax payers’ monies spent so far to be written off and handed to the private sector with additional cost for the transition. Companies are profit orientated and history has anything to tell us is that they cannot trusted with sensitive data
  4. Self-sovereign identity platforms on the blockchain provide both security and privacy
  5. Self-sovereign identity increases the trust that citizen puts into third-party applications. Citizen will also be in control of what data they want to share with third-party developers

Decentralized Identity (DID) standardization is currently a work in progress and the more governments can invest into it, the faster the adoption will be.

Here is good short video explainer of how a decentralized identity would work.