IGF 2023 WS #422 Exploring Blockchain's Potential for Responsible Digital ID

Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (02:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th October, 2023 (04:00 UTC)
WS 3 – Annex Hall 2

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Emerging Technologies
Blockchain, Digital Assets & Web 3-based Ecosystems

Organizer 1: Swati Punia, Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University Delhi
Organizer 2: Harry Rolf, 🔒Tech Policy Design Centre, Australian National University
Organizer 3: Ananya Moncourt , 🔒Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University Delhi

Speaker 1: Mustafa Mahmoud, Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Johanna Weaver, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Susan Morrow, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Kaliya Young, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Rafael Zanatta, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Additional Speakers

Updated information:

In-person Moderator and Organiser 4: Joanne D’Cunha, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 1: Swati Punia, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 2: Mustafa Mahmoud, Civil Society, African Group

Speaker 3: Rafael Zanatta, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Speaker 4: Kaliya Young, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 5: Johanna Weaver, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Swati Punia, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Harry Rolf, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Ananya Moncourt , Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Panel - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

Can blockchain embed human-centric values within Digital ID systems? Is regulatory sandbox effective in assessing the potential of blockchain-enabled Digital ID systems and the need for technical standards? What kinds of on-ground realities must be accounted for? What mechanisms can help advance common values despite diverse socio-cultural, and political contexts in the development of socio-technical systems? What kind of collaborations will help regulators and standards setting become more innovative, effective and harmonious? Does it matter who implements, owns or controls the Digital ID system? What kinds of technical or regulatory tools can help address security and governance concerns?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will be able to form an understanding about the role of blockchain in embodying guiding principles of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development: leaving no one behind, integrating human rights, building gender equality and empowerment, in the future of Digital ID. They will be sensitized to the need for embedding values and ethics in the development of technology, in the context of blockchain-enabled Digital ID systems. Through the experiences and expertise of a diverse panel, participants will learn about common ground realities and varying needs of people from the global majority that need to be accommodated in the design of blockchain-enabled Digital ID systems. Participants will realize the need and value of multistakeholder approaches to identifying challenges and designing sustainable solutions. They will also gain insight into what kinds of mechanisms and policy approaches can help frame regulatory tools and technical standards that work across borders.


CCG and TPDC are collaborators on a first-of-its-kind cross-border, interdisciplinary project to review the blockchain ecosystems in India, Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. The multi-phased project spanning over 3.5 years aims to build a multistakeholder community to collectively deepen policy understanding, identify gaps, and deliver evidence-based recommendations. The project aims to meaningfully impact international discussions on emerging blockchain use-cases and relevant technical standards. The project is identifying and studying blockchain applications that enhance social cohesion, build economic resilience and security in the Indo-Pacific. It prioritizes applications that support gender equality, women's empowerment and inclusive solutions that are scalable and replicable across the region. One important area of such an application is Digital ID, playing a foundational role in individuals’ access to a wide spectrum of services offered by governments and private actors. However, Digital ID systems are globally critiqued for their vulnerabilities and potential for exclusionary and discriminatory impact. The panel will discuss real world case studies and share their experiences with Digital ID systems. This will help examine the potential of blockchain to address human rights concerns, build equitable access to empower disadvantaged groups and embed trust and security in the technological design. Besides, utility of concepts such as “Zero ID Proof” that help advance privacy-by-design and security-by-design will also be discussed along with careful considerations of the challenges, opportunities and knock-on effects of integrating emerging technologies like blockchain with Digital ID systems for the global majority. Finally, the session will attempt to identify ethical design principles and gaps in the current implementation of blockchain-enabled Digital ID systems, and consolidate policy strategies for embedding human-centric values that facilitates creation of inclusive and responsible Digital ID systems. This session builds on a series of conversations held during phase I and II of the project and our workshop at RightsCon 2023.

Expected Outcomes

This session enables the blockchain project to engage with a diverse non-technical audience in a critical conversation about the use of emerging technologies like blockchain to solve human rights concerns, build responsible socio-technical systems and facilitate SDGs. This will strengthen our blockchain project by testing its current approach and outcomes. A key objective of the project is to develop a multistakeholder non-financial blockchain community and raise awareness and engagement of stakeholders in the standard-setting processes for blockchain. Participants will be able to contribute and collaborate with this community through future stakeholder convenings organized for designing recommendations and identifying gaps for phase-III of our project. CCG is an accredited stakeholder at the ISO and its mirror committee at the national level in India, and insights from this session will enable representation of a multistakeholder perspective on technical standards for emerging technologies at these forums.

Hybrid Format: The session has four parts: introductory segment lays down the context and gathers initial-remarks on pre-decided questions, followed by two segments that deep dive into challenges and benefits, and engage with the policy questions outlined. The last segment interacts with participants and consolidates inputs through live questions and an interactive whiteboard (Miro) - used throughout the session to collect inputs on predetermined and emerging streams of questions. While the rapporteur will maintain the whiteboard to feed in inputs from the ongoing session, all participants would be given access to actively engage with it during the session as well as an hour beyond the set schedule to share their thoughts. Besides this, each segment will make use of interactive live polling (SlidesWith). This is particularly useful to understand the pulse of the room and provides an excellent opportunity to navigate the discussion towards issues that get highlighted during this exercise.