- The implementation of NFT to develop digital national IDs is the next step for Africa’s Web3 Journey
- In 2020, Kenya experienced one of its worst cases of Identity forgery from developing national identifications for applicants.
- The immutable nature of NFT comes from its link to its corresponding blockchain network.
The advantages of the already set Web3 application in Africa are already evident. With the revival of crypto trading and the steady growth of Blockchain-based projects, it’s only a matter of time before African governments issue crucial changes within the ecosystem. One such critical implementation is the wide adoption of CBDC within governments.
Achieving such a feat will eventually mark blockchain implementation in governments, allowing the world to follow suit. Despite this, another less-known goal of Web3 is to transform Africa’s Identification system. We can only achieve such a blockchain-based project by establishing Africa’s NFT Identification System.
Indeed many might think that the benefits and applications of NFT only apply to the creative minds of painters, artists and even musicians. However, with the rapid growth of NFT within Africa, we might see the application of NFT to National IDs.
The growing rate of NFT in Africa
Aside from the rapid growth of crypto in Africa, its counterpart, NFTs have also taken centre stage in various African countries. The leading nations in Web3, such as Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, have significantly adopted the ever-goring market of NFT. Organizations such as Africapolitan, Ubuntuland and other emerging markets such as Venly and BitKeep have also taken the initiative t support Africa’s NFT artists.
This Web3 application in Africa partially created Africarare and Ubuntuland, Africa’s first metaverse.
Web2 has significantly suffered from cyber attacks such as piracy, identity theft and fraud. For decades it still cannot curb illegal duplicates. In truth, unless a user uses other third-party means such as cryptography or steganography, it’s usually hard to tell the difference between duplicating original content. As a result, tracing digital content such as videos and pictures was almost impossible until recently.
Redefining digital ownership
On May 3rd, 214, digital artist Kevin McCoy minted the first known NFT called Quantum. This new digital art soon revolutionized the concept of artistry and digital identification. After this event, a significant amount of experimentation and development occurred. Thus other blockchain platforms started to offer environments where NFT arts would thrive and eventually support local talents that Africa had.
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From this discovery, digital ownership revolutionized how African artists viewed and interacted with their content. No longer would an artist have to undergo the rigours procedures patents and copyright laws had. Instead, simply creating digital art in a Web3 environment is enough.
The possibility of an NFT Identification system
Africa’s unique ecosystems are one of the significant merit points that have allowed web3 application to thrive. In the Western World, for a state to legally recognize indiviudals, they must have a driving license, a passport, a credit card or an e-card. In Africa, the primary basis of identification starts with a birth certificate which processes National Identification cards. Africa’s National identification system is an instrument that most nations use to identify and legally recognize individuals as part of their nationality.
Drawbacks of traditional systems
Having such a straightforward system has its advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately, its merits have recently outweighed its positive impacts. It’s been less than two decades since most African countries valued the concept of digitalization.
As a result, most national IDs are usually in documentation, which has many issues. The establishment of false identification, fraud and even issuance of fraudulent death certificates all stems from the primary vulnerability of a national designation.
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Forging such documents is expected. In 2020, Kenya experienced one of its worst cases of Identity forgery as investigators discovered that various individuals make substantial earnings from developing national identifications for applicants.According to the National Registration Bureau, birth certificates are the most abused form of identification. Brokers often recreate national identity cards for citizens and foreigners seeking to bypass government checking quickly. As a result, this issue stems from government offices, where employees accept “extra fees” to issue national IDs without proper documentation.
This has significantly increased the rate of immigrants within the country. In addition, it has also placed a dent in the already-questionable country budgeting.
What NFT offers for identification
Fortunately, with the establishment of blockchain in government, this issue is effectively mitigated. With Africa steadily embracing its digital metamorphosis, it was only time before creating blockchain-based projects that will effectively alleviate the problems of traditional and digital identification systems. The concept of an NFT national Identification system giving users complete control over their most private information but still allows some form of accountability to the governments.
NFT is a web3 application in Africa that implements the essential element of decentralization within its functionalities. NFTs are individual tokens that can store information within them. They operate by implementing a decentralized ledger system similar to every web3 application in Africa.
Remembering that NFTs are not actual paintings or videos is crucial. Instead, they are a digital representation of the digital content’s certifications and signatures. It implements an immutable unique ID and metadata that cannot occupy more than one owner.
The immutable nature of NFT comes from its link to its corresponding blockchain network. Smart contacts within the blockchain network assign ownership and govern the transferability of NFT. This created the unique ID and Metadata. Thus NFTs can be considered as the wrapping of digital signatures onto digital content. This is why most blockchain-based platforms often have the option to convert already designed digital art or content to an NFT. It doesn’t change it; instead, it adds a layer of identity.
Utilizing the concept of decentralization in NFT
This simple concept is crucial in implementing NFT national IDs in Africa. Today most organizations and indiviudals have a significant digital footprint, and it can be either within social media., at work or at home, despite only a handful of African countries having a somewhat functioning Web2 digital identity system. It ultimately does not compare to establishing this Web3 application in Africa—currently, over 500 million Africans lack proper identification documents.
Fortunately, setting up an NFT national identification system does not imply the complete abandonment of the old system. Instead, it means that Africa’s national ID System can potentially shift and store its contents within a blockchain network. By “wrapping” national IDs with unique IDs and Metadata, it creates an immutable system whose users have complete power over their documentation.
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In addition, go governments can enforce policies such as the Data Subject Rights for General Data Protection Regulation. This policy ensures the establishment of sevral control protocols that protect all users from potential fraud or Identity theft. In addition, Issuing an NFT national identification system is more secure, cheaper and instantaneous than physical ones.
Furthermore, the steady growth of blockchain-based projects makes it easier for governments to roll out several Web3 applications that might take advantage of Africa’s growing mobile industry. According to the GSMA report, Africa’s smartphone penetration will reach 900 million by 2025. Rolling out this Web3 application in Africa led to establishing of the NFT national identification system.
Existing NFT national identification stem
Cardano has pioneered improving Africa’s national identification system for some time now. Everyone is set on its recent blockchain-based project, the Atala Prism. This project seeks to establish an NFT national identification system running on the Cardano blockchain network.
The Republic of Palau announced its recent take on NFT national identification system. The state has announced that it will partner with Binance to establish blockchain-based projects in the form of NFTs to roll out new national identity cards for its use.
The forefront nature of Palau is nothing short of admirable. In 2022, it established a Root Name System Digital Residency Program. This new blockchain-based project supplied its citizens with ID cards issued by the government since it does not have a physical ones. The RNS system gives NFT national identification card that has KYC functionalities. This enables citizens to access digital banking, verify on-chain signatures, and access serval services through their new IDs. Despite the launch of the web3 application, it still needs additional regulatory policies and framework to avoid any legislative backlash.
Bermuda recently announced its plans to develop a Blockchain-based project to establish new National IDs for its citizens. Perseid Network and the centralized credential verification protocol Shyft Network will spearhead THis initiative. If Africa’s National ID system could emulate the proceedings of this country, we might see yet another revolution in Web3.
Establishing an NFT national identification system might appear simple, but it couldn’t be further from. The sceptical natures of NFT and Web3 among African governments run deeps. South Africa, Nigeria, in Kenya are among the few exceptions willing to take a stand and further incorporate the advantages of Web3 application in Africa. Despite this, NFT national identification cards might occur sooner than most anticipate. Nigeria’s steadily growing NFT community has gained a global view, and we may see another new adoption strategy of blockchain in the government.