Cleveland-based startup Vital Chain, is focusing on the creation of digital death certificates and birth records using the distributed ledger technology.
Blockchain offers a lot of potential to vital records. It’s immutability, traceability and its ability for data storage has endeared it to many industries. It is now seen as a technology to store all kinds of records which now includes death certificates? As it is, Medici Ventures, the wholly-owned blockchain accelerator of Overstock.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) has entered an agreement with Vital Chain in return for a minority stake.
Why Digitise Birth/Death Certificates?
The first identity document an individual gets when they are born is a birth certificate and the last document they get after they die is a death certificate. These documents are essential to the identity of a man therefore, it’s trail must follow a trustless and auditable path. Although the US has made a move towards digitizing death certificates, the current process for creating an initial record of birth or death is inefficient and fragmented.
The government is the custodian of the identities of its citizens. While identity is important to the government. Ensuring that IDs in various agencies are properly validated, stored and issued without increasing opportunities for errors, fraud and security breach is of topmost importance. But by using the blockchain, governmental agencies can verify birth registration information using the current existing standards of live birth certification. This registration can be secured on the blockchain with the parent controlling the data until the child is of legal age. Access to the cryptographically stored information will be granted by holders consent.
The Vital Chain’s Vision for Identity Storage
To create an innovative solution to this fragmented process of registering a death, Vital Chain is using the blockchain. The solution utilizes blockchain technology as storage for innovative birth and death certificates thereby reducing the reliance on the paper and digital insurance of these vital records. Vital chain is teaming with Medici Ventures, who will acquire an equity stake in Vital Chain to undertake some product development work for the company. By integrating with various government agencies and health systems, Vital Chain will help to save time, increase efficiency, and reduce costs associated with the vital records ecosystem.
Medici Ventures, a wholly-owned blockchain accelerator of Overstock.com is focused on accelerating the adoption of blockchain technology and changing the world. They are already working with companies who are integrating blockchain technologies to industries such as governance, identity, supply chain, capital markets, governance, money and banking, and voting.
According to Jonathan Johnson, CEO of Overstock and president of Medici Ventures:
“Medici Ventures’ is committed to accelerating the adoption of blockchain technology, and Vital Chain is a meaningful addition to our identity pillar…”
Vital Chain is already making progress towards adoption with its partnership with the MetroHealth System. MetroHealth, a public health system and hospital group based in Cleveland, Ohio will work closely with Vital Chain to develop the product and spread its offer to hospitals across the country. On the other hand, Medici Ventures will acquire an equity stake in Vital Chain via product development work it will undertake for the company.
In the words of Shane Bigelow, the CEO of Vital Chain:
“Medici Ventures brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping companies like us to build meaningful technology in the identity realm. To have Medici, as the leader in the space, take an ownership stake in our company and involve us in their keiretsu is a great honour…”