Catalonia's decentralized identity system is about politics, not blockchain

Catalonia’s decentralized identity system is about politics, not blockchain

 

Catalonia, an embattled, semi-autonomous province in the northeast region of Spain, revealed plans earlier this week for a blockchain -based, “self-sovereign” identity system, called IdentiCAT.

It rightly caught the attention of the cryptosphere as a technology that aims to independently validate Catalan citizens’ identification data—using a decentralized ledger, instead of the traditional methods used by the Spanish government.

But IdentiCAT isn’t really about blockchain.

The self-sovereign goals of Catalona’s separatist government, in fact, have much more to do with politics—and the province’s ongoing campaign for independence—than with technology. And the timing of Catalonia’s announcement is no coincidence either.

“I believe that IdentiCAT is a good idea, carried out at the worst possible time," Jose Antonio Bravo, a blockchain technology and accounting consultant based in Spain, told Decrypt . "The existing political conflict in Catalonia does not allow the peaceful management of a decentralized digital identity project.”

Just days ago, hundreds of thousands gathered in Barcelona to demonstrate their support for Catalonia’s secession, according to the Associated Press . It’s all part of a struggle for Catalan independence that goes back centuries.

Indeed, some in the region say that Catalonia’s call for a decentralized identity system should be viewed as nothing less than a political provocation—a message to the Spanish government that the province is furthering its plans to end its dependence on Spain. It’s an issue so sensitive that many of the regional experts we spoke to on the matter refused to comment publicly for fear of being seen as taking a side.Early signs of […]