Brazil Records First-Ever Blockchain Birth Certificate
Blockchains are normally associated with cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoins, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and many others. However, blockchains and cryptocurrencies are really two separate topics. The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, adopted blockchain technology for recording transactions simply because of the reliability of blockchains. A blockchain is a distributed ledger that appears to be hacker-proof.
Once a record is recorded in a blockchain, it can never be altered or deleted. Most blockchains have multiple copies available online and each copy serves as a backup copy to all the other copies, making it (probably) impossible for hackers to delete all of them simultaneously. Most blockchains are also visible to everyone over the internet although there are a few exceptions.
Blockchains are now being used to record all sorts of important transactions and events, including financial transactions, real estate sales, and legal transactions. They have also moved into other important functions, such as tracking the purity of drugs during manufacture, tracking the origins of all sorts of food items, and creating digital identities of human beings. Even Walmart has been working with IBM on a food safety blockchain solution and requires all suppliers of leafy green vegetables destined for Sam’s and Walmart to immediately upload their data to the blockchain during each step of the delivery process. Some people believe that blockchains will soon be used to identify which voters are eligible to vote in public elections, thereby reducing or possibly eliminating election fraud.
For more information about the advantages of blockchains, see Why Use Blockchain Technology? at https://bitcoinist.com/why-use-blockchain-technology/.
It is interesting to note that blockchains are being adopted for proving the identity of individuals. Blockchains already are used to record the names, places, and dates of weddings and now are being used to record the facts of the births of babies. Assuming this trend continues, future genealogists will not need to obtain records from governmental vital records agencies. Instead, genealogists will simply check the applicable blockchain.
NOTE: Blockchains probably will always be difficult or impossible to use for verifying vital records of events that occurred before the adoption of blockchain technology. However, blockchains can be used to provide proof of events and identities that occur today and forever into the future.
Brazil, the fifth most populated country in the world, has made history by issuing its first birth certificate using blockchain technology, a significant step towards recording vital public statistics.
According to a report (in Portuguese) at https://br.cointelegraph.com/news/brazil-birth-certificate-and-blockchain, Álvaro de Medeiros was the first baby to have his birth certificate issued without the need of any notary or registry office. GrowTech, a company which strives towards a high-end tech world, in partnership with IBM, has used blockchain technology to record birth certificates by using its Notary ledger platform to provide virtual notary services.
IBM’s blockchain leader in Latin America, Carlos Rischioto, said that the registration process involves three main steps. First, the hospital is required to make a “live birth statement.” After this, the Ledger platform of the blockchain technology is used to create a digital identity of the newborn. In the last step, the essential and relevant information is sent to the notary to finalize it. The entire process required about 5 minutes, in contrast to the several days required to manually register a birth at the normal registry offices.
You can read an English-language report of this blockchain registration of a birth at https://bitcoinnews.com/brazil-records-its-first-ever-blockchain-based-birth-certificate/.
I can envision future recording of family tree information with footnote sources referring to the blockchain record number of the event, listing the date, the location, and the identity of the persons involved!