Susanne Tarkowski-Templehof, founder and CEO of Bitnation, revealed how it all began with blockchain ID project to a blogger Ian Patterson.
“I had a company in Afghanistan a few years ago, and as the situation got worse there, a lot of my close ex-employees fled to Europe. So when they came to Europe they asked me to help them with their political asylum requests,” – Susanne told. “I went through all the paperwork, got some pro-bono legal advice from lawyer friends, and moved in with them for a couple of months in Northern Italy to try to assist. It was a very long and hard process, so I started to think of alternative methods.”
She then started thinking of possible solutions to the problem in the context of Bitnation blockchain community.
“We looked into the European Union regulations and realized that if we could prove that someone had close relatives (i.e. parents, children, or siblings) in one country, they are more likely to be able to travel there to apply for asylum. So we spent a couple of weeks designing it using the blockchain for P2P family verifications… and then released it. It complies to all EU standards of an official ID,” – she continued.
Bitnation’s ID brings considerable benefits to those seeking asylum. Bitnation EU-compliant identification card that verifies close relationships with existing residents really makes the difference when it comes to seeking permanent residency, work and housing in a safer country.
Eventually, around 5000 people used Bitnation’s notarized ID service after its release in 2015. Two years later, it won a prestigious UNESCO award and international acclaim.
Today Bitnation partners with Estonia’s e-Residency program and is looking to leverage its growing international recognition to serve new communities, including many more refugees.
Another thing that makes Tempelhof and Bitnation particularly inspiring is that they managed to do all this in the blockchain space where user-centered design hasn’t gotten much traction yet.