It shouldn't take extraordinary acts to prove one deserves to be a citizen. Could the blockchain provide an answer?by Balázs Némethi / August 2, 2018 / Leave a comment
What is a person without an identity? For refugees throughout the world and millions classed as officially “stateless”, it is easy to lose sight of the human circumstances that put them in that position.
Delighting in the rare chance to report on good news, the global media has shared stories of stateless heroes lately: individuals who have, through tragic and extraordinary circumstances, proven their worth to their country of residence.
Mamoudou Gassama, a Malian migrant living in France was granted citizenship in May this year and offered a job in the Paris fire brigade, after saving a young child dangling from a balcony. He earnt the nickname ‘Spiderman’ as well as his rights.
Mamoudou came to France looking for a better life—and has found it—but other migrants arriving in the same circumstances have a much more difficult journey to acceptance and integration.
Even more recently, Thai authorities have stated that three of the boys and their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong—who were rescued from 17 days trapped in a flooded cave—will be granted fast-track Thai citizenship, having previous been officially “stateless.”
It is welcome that their bravery is recognised. But what of the 500,000 people living in Thailand who are denied access to state services, many of whom belong to the same ethnic group as Mr Chantawong, the Tai Lue?
In normal circumstances, Tai Lue must wait approximately ten years to be granted citizenship and prove their Thai lineage.
To trace this back is so difficult that many stop trying, as the information simply does not exist.
A possible solution?
What if there were a way to store this documentation? That proved you not only belong in a state, but that you can contribute positively to it without relying on extraordinary, and potentially tragic circumstances.
The global media and international platforms like One Young World are helping to spotlight this important issue, and in turn, are encouraging innovative solutions—like blockchain.
Blockchain is not just the technology behind cryptocurrency. It is a record of transactions that is incorruptible. The information is personalised and specific only to that one specific blockchain; it cannot be changed.
There is an opportunity here to save the people who risk losing their identities. In 2015, I set up Taqanu in response to my own country, Hungary’s anti-immigrant…