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Ohio City Partners to Create Digital Identity Pilot Project

In 2022, the city of Dublin, Ohio, plans to unveil its digital identity project that allows users to confirm their residency, respond to custom surveys and earn “Dublin Points” through a centralized app.

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In Dublin, Ohio, city officials have partnered with Software Verde to design an experimental “Digital Identity” pilot project that will allow users to record their validated residency through a custom minted token stored on a blockchain.

Users with an identity token can use an app to verify their residency, respond to custom surveys and earn, trade and redeem Dublin Points — also known as “dubs” — for items of nominal value.

More specifically, the identity manager utilizes a decentralized, permissioned blockchain to support the application while offering a reward mechanism through Bitcoin Cash Simple Ledger Protocol to create tokens and fund transactions, according to the city’s website.

“As an internal test, city staff have simulated the process of attesting residency status, recording their confirmed identity on a blockchain, presenting their identity with a QR code, voting on a test survey and earning and redeeming ‘dubs’ for participating in a mock recycling activity,” said CIO Doug McCollough via email.

“The project team used these tests to identify problems, gaps, improvements and lessons learned,” McCollough added. However, only internal staff have performed tests representing residents so far.

In 2019, the city began installing miners, minting tokens and launching the application in Apple and Google App stores, officially completing the process in 2020; however, the project is still in the testing phase.

In 2022, McCollough said, “the pilot will close after a limited set of public use cases involving non-staff engaging with the Dublin Digital Identity as a ‘social token’ or ‘community token’ in the mode of a Web3 application.”

“This kind of experimentation is consistent with our Connected Dublin program,” he said. “We will share our lessons learned about the technology with other communities and hope our experimentation pushes forward the viability of this technology in other connected communities.”

As for other efforts incentivizing communities to use this technology, a recently enacted law will allow local governments in the state to use distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain, to simplify their operations and improve data reporting.

According to bill sponsor Rep. Mark Fraizer, R-71, the legislation came about after he learned about a company using ledger and blockchain technology to simplify and organize data.

From there, the concept of local governments using this tech was discussed by state lawmakers, resulting in the bill. But the legislation does not specify how local governments should use the technology, Fraizer noted.

“The bill is not overly prescriptive on who or how county governments, townships and other local governments throughout the state should use the technology,” he said. “They can seek it out through a [request for proposal] or [request for quotation] with tech partners.”

More legislation focused on distributed ledger technology could soon be coming down the pipeline — specifically regarding the marketplace. But, until then, the bill’s passing is the first step in connecting local governments with this technology.
Katya Maruri is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University.