Oraclize, a start-up that enables data-rich smart contracts, has announced a full working version of an ethereum wallet which works through a digital identity card issued by the government of Estonia.
According to a statement, you can now link an ethereum address to your digital ID card that controls “transfers from a smart contract-based Wallet, which can receive and send Ether or any ERC-20 based tokens, between other cardholders or Ethereum addresses, with nothing else than their digital identity card.”
Anyone in the world can apply for the e-residency digital identity card which allows you to establish a business that can operate across Europe as well as to open a business account with Holvi, a Helsinki based global bank which has entered into a partnership with the e-residency program.
This is the very first time a government issued digital identity is linked to a digital currency, creating new infrastructure which may open the door to many applications, both internet focused and off-line.
Oraclize says the project allows funds to be controlled by a given digital identity card that allows anybody to send funds to a third party without knowing their Ethereum address, but only their identity. They might not even have an ethereum address yet, Oraclize says. They further say:
“A given Ethereum address can be provably-linked to a real identity (“proof of identity”) and such information can be leveraged by any other smart contract in the network when a real identity might be required.”
In effect, the project provides everyone with a bank account without using a bank or signing up for one. It probably could further develop into a contactless card, making it a debit card as well as an ID, because the card doesn’t use a picture like traditional IDs, but a chip.
That means you can connect it to a computer through a USB, allowing everyone to verify your identity, while further making possible certain aspects that were previously difficult or impossible, such as signing documents in an unforgeable manner.
In regards to privacy, the level expected is that of a bank account, but it remains voluntary while opening some markets, such as loaning facilities that can be provided in an automatic manner, or crowdfunding in a manner that can increase trust, or business commerce where trust is required.
The project is of course just at inception, but considering everyone in the world can apply for the card and considering it should attract a high level of trust because it is government issued, this may open the commerce market for ethereum because once the card is set-up it should make payments very easy and in a trusted manner where that is required.
Far easier, in any event, than any other digital currency alternatives and, perhaps, eventually, maybe easier than even contactless bank cards while having the advantage of operating over an open global network where transactions can move without requiring any permission to anyone across the world in mere seconds for as good as no fee.