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Blockchain Philanthropy: Austin to Help the Homeless Using Blockchain Technology

The city has about 7000 people with either stolen or lost identities


Austin to Help the Homeless via Blockchain

Austin, an inland city in the state capital of Texas, has about 7000 people with either stolen or lost identities. The missing link of identity keeps these homeless people from accessing critical health, housing, and employment services in the region. To solve their problem, the city has come up with the idea of using blockchain to vouch for the identities of the homeless.

Austin, with its population of 947,890, is overseen by its directly-elected Mayor, Steve Adler.

35/300 Selected Bloomberg Applications

The idea was among the 35 selected from the 300 applications submitted for the testing phase of its 2018 US Mayors Challenge. The challenge asks American cities for technology and data solutions for their most pressing challenges and seeks to award up to $100,000 in grants, for each winning city to experiment with and refine their ideas. The ideas will be re-evaluated in August. Over the next six months, the selected 35 cities will be testing their ideas to make them even more innovative and effective, according to Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.

The Austin Solution

Adler sees the solution to Austin’s problem in providing these 7000 homeless people with an identity. Accordingly, the city will use blockchain technology to provide homeless residents with a unique identifier that allows them to access their personal records at any time, enabling access to critical services.

Having a digital identity could also prove to be more efficient for the entire population of Austin.

IBM and Microsoft Are Already Working on Blockchain-based Digital Identity Solutions

This isn’t the first foray into digital identities by technology enthusiasts. American tech giants IBM (IBM) and Microsoft (MSFT) are already working on systems that enable digital identity management.

IBM believes the distributed trust model is a new way of managing identities. Blockchain technology empowers consumers to control their own identity and share between trusted entities with their consent. Also, no single institution can compromise a consumer’s identity.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is working on the greatest poverty-killing blockchain solution in association with ID2020 Alliance – a global public-private partnership as a founding member. You can read more on the Microsoft initiative here.

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