Border Control Issues and How Blockchain & Digital Identity is Here to the Rescue
During his first week as president of the USA, President Trump signed two executive orders, calling Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) to hire an additional of 15,000 agents. This is a huge ask, especially when both of these agencies had, in the past, struggled to have enough agents for the task at hand. As a matter of fact, border control agencies were supposed to maintain a minimum of 21,370 agents from 2011 to 2016, and yet, a government accountability study uncovered that the number was in fact only 19.500. At one point, the agencies were even losing more agents that they could hire.
Around the same time, across the Atlantic Ocean, there was another problem with the border, a result from Brexit. When U.K. voters elected to leave the European Union in 2016, perhaps one thing that was overlooked, was the free movement of people and goods across the Irish border. Although it was agreed that tracking people was a simpler task, the same cannot be said for goods, and if left unresolved, it will lead to hurting trade figures and cross-border businesses.
It’s true that border control problems had always been an issue, and other than these two common scenarios, you and I will agree that we could all benefit from a more straightforward process when traveling across borders to different countries. The concept of passport (or travel papers as it was traditionally referred to) could be traced back to 450BC, when the prophet, who was working as a royal cupbearer, was granted letters by the Persian King Artaxerxes. The purpose of the papers? To ensure that the governors of the land beyond the Euphrates granted the prophet safe passage to Judah.
Though technology has evolved over the 2000 years, the passport hasn’t. When you think of traveling, one of the hassles that come to mind is undoubtedly the process of lining up at the airport or customs, before you, like the prophet, are granted “safe passage” into the country.
So, the question is, do we hold on to the old way of doing things, just because it has always been done this way? Or perhaps it’s time to relook at the technology we have in our hands, and leverage on it to solve this age-old problem?
Enter the Blockchain — the decentralized public ledger that is taking the world by storm. As more and more companies are finding ways to join the hype and incorporate the blockchain in their businesses, perhaps with its very nature, it could very well be the best solution to address the border control problems. The blockchain technology is known to be immutable and secure, and the data stored are close to impossible to be tampered with, turning hackers elsewhere. Apply this into the issue of border control, and you will have a tracking solution that records every movement of the people, and since it’s unhackable, their “footprints” will never be lost or changed.
This is not entirely a new concept, because recently, Maersk and IBM set up a joint venture with the sole purpose of transforming the global shipping sector, by using the blockchain. As a matter of fact, they claimed that once any company receives regulatory approval, their new blockchain-backed processes could be up and running in as short as six months. DowDuPont Inc has worked with Maersk in the pilot program, implementing the technology at major ports in Houston and Rotterdam. Custom Agencies in Netherlands and US had also signed on with Maersk on this program too. On the other side of the partnership, IBM is working on similar programs with Nestle SA, Unilever NV and Walmart INC., to bring this brilliant technology into the food industry. The conclusion is it made goods tracking much easier and effective, and this shows big promise for many of the eCommerce players around the world.
Now, could the same technology used to track goods be so easily implemented with humans? Steve Rao, CEO of Xenchain thinks so. Having worked with government agencies and financial institutions on implementing digital identifications, he believed that in the future, crossing borders could be as easy as flicking on your phone, flashing your unique QR code at the face of the scanner, and that’s it! With the Xenchain mobile app, developed by Singapore-based tech firm Xendity, this is made possible. As a matter of fact, Steve and his team decided to take personal digital ID to the next level by introducing social validations (your friends and contacts get to verify your identity), and earn cryptocurrencies (Xencoin) in the process!
“If you think that Xenchain and digital ID can only be used for border control and KYC (Know Your Customer), think again. Imagine how this can transform the landscape of social media, banking, healthcare and more.”
Xenchain is undergoing their private token sale now, and if you want to be in an $8b Global Identity & Access Management, head over to https://xenchain.io right now and register your interest.