Utah Governor Spencer Cox has signed a bill requiring the state’s Division of Technology Services to launch a pilot program for digital verifiable credentials using blockchain technology.
HB 470 aims to provide recommendations to government entities on how to issue a digital ID or other record through distributed-ledger technology. The pilot program will also be aimed at drawing up policies and procedures for protecting the privacy of personal identifying information, in consultation with Utah’s privacy officer.
DTS will deliver a progress report to the Utah House of Representatives’ Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Interim Committee by the end of October.
On the same day, Cox signed HB 357, a bill that establishes a legal framework for decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) to operate in Utah. DAOs are online cooperatives governed by ownership in cryptocurrency or another digital token. The Digital Technology Task Force, a board created last year, authored the bill.
While the bills most obviously share in common an enthusiasm for exploring blockchain and decentralized technologies, they also point to the growing prominence of digital identity technology in the state. Utah became a pioneer in issuing digital, mobile-based versions of its citizens’ drivers licenses last year, and recently followed that up with a selfie-based enrolment system that uses facial recognition to verify license holders.
It isn’t yet clear how the mobile IDs could fit into a broader, blockchain-based digital ID system, but state authorities are likely to find some areas of synergy as they move forward with the pilot. Likewise, mobile ID, biometric authentication, digital identity, or some combination of these technologies could have an important role to play in DAOs, which the state will treat as the legal equivalent of limited liability companies unless they have registered as corporations or nonprofits.