Accenture and Microsoft are teaming up to work on what is possibly the biggest project of its kind. The two companies are linking arms and together will be working on a project that seeks to provide legal and unique identification to over 1.1 Billion people across the world — people who have no legal IDs as of now.

The project has the support of the United Nations and it will leverage a digital ID network created using the blockchain technology. Blockchain, in case you are unaware of it, is the same tech that is behind bitcoins.

The two companies together unveiled a prototype of the digital ID network on New York, on Monday. The event took place at the UN Headquarters in New York and the event was  the second summit of ID2020, a public-private consortium which also promotes the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goal of providing legal identity for everyone on the planet.

The aim of this technology is to provide everyone in the world with some sort of a basic ID, so as to ensure that they have access to the basic amenities of life including healthcare and education. These issues have grown all the more poignant with the recent crisis in the middle east and the great influx of refuges into Europe.

Speaking on the topic, David Treat, a managing director in Accenture’s financial services practice, said:

Without an identity you can’t access education, financial services, healthcare, you name it. You are disenfranchised and marginalized from society.

He added:

Having a digital identity is a basic human right.

The platform will work as a sort of intermediary and will connect existing record-keeping systems of commercial and public entities through blockchain. This way, even if the hard copies are destroyed or lost, people will be able to pull out their identity and other documents regardless of where they are.

Such a digital identity system through necessary for humanitarian reasons, could eventually escalate and become something used across the world — everywhere. By empowering people to keep hold of their identities, Microsoft and Accenture will be having a radical impact on the life of such people.

There are already solutions wherein people have started storing such information online. However, a project of this scale could make it something common and widespread, as compared to something only a few people think about doing.

Dakota Gruener, executive director at ID2020, said:

What ID2020 is truly focused on is bringing together an alliance of stakeholders to ensure the technology that is being developed is responsive to the needs of individuals.

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