The Cayman Islands Parliament will begin deliberating over the establishment of a digital ID program in the country next month, with legislation that would establish a legal basis for the program having now been formally posted.
The ID system would be based on data held by the National Workforce Development Agency, and work on the project would be spearheaded by Ministry of Innovation’s eGovernment arm. The aim is to ensure that there is a single, centralized source of authority for the confirmation of a given individual’s identity, and to help modernize the country and its government services.
The government is now accepting public comment on the proposed legislation. Development of the identity register, assuming the legislation is passed, is expected to take about six months, with government officials anticipating that individuals will be able to start applying for their IDs next summer.
While the proposed digital identity system will likely have an important impact on Caymanians, it could also have meaningful consequences for the world of international finance. Because the Cayman Islands does not have a corporate tax regime, a great number of corporations and investment firms that do business elsewhere in the world are registered in the country.
For firms such as hedge funds, the digital ID system could help to make their work a lot easier. Speaking to Loop News, a partner with Deloitte in the Cayman Islands explained that the ID system could create “greater efficiency of services to the public by the government by having one source of truth and avoids duplication of effort by the public and the government.”
It isn’t yet clear what authentication mechanisms will be used with respect to onboarding Caymanians, and in their own transactions using the card; but an image of a sample version of the physical ID card, circulated by the country’s Ministry of Investment, Innovation & Social Development, depicted a QR code on part of the card’s face.